A Homage to Absentee Chairmen

Absentee Chairmen don’t remember the first football
match they went to

The Score

Who was playing.

Or who took them

Absentee Chairmen don’t have competitions with their
pals over who has seen the most away games

Or reserve games

Or Youth Cup games

Absentee Chairmen can’t tell you about Bergkamp

Or Tony Adams kicks

Absentee Chairmen don’t know who The Boy Bastin was,

Or Herbert Chapman (or where his bust is)

Absentee Chairmen don’t wear lucky pants when we play
in N17

Or still keep the “Tractor tread” yellow away kit of
1991 just in case they suddenly lose two stone

Absentee Chairmen have never celebrated a last
minute winner so hard they saw stars

In Newcastle

In the freezing cold

Or hung a red scarf out of a car window

Or a black one

Or cut vouchers out of a programme to get a cup
final ticket

Or queued overnight in Avenell Road

Absentee Chairmen don’t know what away points are

Nor how many points we got last season

Absentee Chairmen have never hugged old friends
tightly on the terraces

Or remembered the first game without them

Absentee Chairmen do care about balance sheers

Not clean sheets

The glory of profits

Not in Victory Through Harmony

And though they know the price of everything (including
their shares)

They know the value of nothing….

Dad of three young gooners, Layth has been an Arsenal Season Ticket holder for over thirty years, and has spent pre-match in the Highbury Barn for almost as long. He has written for Four-Four-Two, When Saturday Comes, The Gooner, In Bed With Maradona, The Inside Left, The Sabotage Times & The Daisy Cutter amongst others. He has also written a travel book on Vietnam called ‘Hanoi Autobahn’.


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