We all have blood running through our veins; I’m just the same with the exception that
my red and white cells equal Arsenal. You see Arsenal is as much a part of me as my
blood – we are totally inseparable, one without the other is simply impossible.
My family ties with Arsenal go back to 1913 (over a century) when my maternal
Grandfather witnessed the first game at Highbury. I have no idea if he was already an
Arsenal fan but there was never any doubt in his later years – he was close to FANatical.
He lived on Stavordale Road and was a local coalman, a big strong man standing six feet
five inches tall, arms like tree trunks, with coal dust permanently embedded in his face,
an imposing man and someone to be feared.
On match days Stavordale Road became a parking lot and Grandpa saw this as a source
of revenue. When a car parked he would be there to open the car door and greet the
driver, he would place his hand, heavily, on the drivers shoulder and say – “hey mate, if
you give me a bob (shilling) I’ll make sure that nothing bad happens to your car” the
driver would look into his coal grained face and then down at his hob nailed boots and
quickly cough up a bob. The fear factor (what Grandpa might do to his car if he said no)
rarely failed. When the street was full he’d zip up to the Drayton Arms and down a few
pints of brown and mild then trot up the hill to Highbury to watch his beloved Gunners –
he was very wise in the use of his” bob’s”.
As a kid I would stand on Avenell Road and hear the ooh’s and aah’s and roars coming
out of Highbury and I just yearned to get in to see a game, Grandpa indoctrinated me at
the age of ten, Nov. 22nd 1947, Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town and I found my DNA.
My paternal Grandfather, who lived on Caledonian Road, was equally FANatical our
combined family was huge I had eighteen uncles and forty six male cousins, all Arsenal
fans, well except for four sad souls who were Spuds supporters.
To say that we lived and breathed Arsenal is a monumental understatement, family
occasions were dominated by Arsenal dialogue, before Sunday dinner the men would all
go up the pub and we kids would stand outside listening to all of the Arsenal banter and
waiting for our bags of Smith’s crisps, with the blue twist of salt and bottles of Tizer.
I really had no other choice than to become an Arsenal supporter and I’m happy to say
that it has remained as a dominant part of my life, so much so that all family/business and
social functions are scheduled around Arsenal games.
So you see my DNA is also known as a….Dysfunction Named Arsenal.
Not that I’m complaining.