Arsenal’s soul will never be up for sale.
Arsenal is the gasping of breath at my first sight of the Highbury turf, after my small legs carried me up the well-trodden steps.
Arsenal is the smell of frying onions on an autumnal evening as a sea of red and white meanders the terraced streets of Avenell and Gillespie roads.
Arsenal is hankering for those beautifully woven JVC shirts as you walked past World of Sport, Finsbury Park.
Arsenal is the living history and class of the marble halls and the Art Deco glory of the East and West stands.
Arsenal is witnessing and worshipping the god like elegance of Bergkamp and the drive and relentlessness of Adams.
Arsenal is hearing swearing in the old north bank and your mum covering your ears.
Arsenal is sharing the sheer joy of trophy after trophy with old school mates.
Arsenal is the tradition, the cannon, the white sleeves, the yellow and Herbert Chapman’s ambition and industry.
Arsenal is the Eaglet and the lifelong friends you have made.
Arsenal is the routines.
Arsenal is my mum’s obligatory pre-London Derby breakfasts. Can’t “go to war” without one.
Arsenal is the pies, beers, tunes at Piebury Corner.
Arsenal is seeing the same faces on away days.
Arsenal is the unbreakable camaraderie.
Arsenal is the family.
Arsenal is making friends from New York to Norway and Nepal.
Arsenal is sometimes having a “great day out ruined by football”.
Arsenal is knowing that regardless of the result you will see your mates.
Arsenal is sharing the trials, tribulations, hope and glory with your best mate and the love of your life.
Arsenal is going to a cup final with your future wife and best man.
Arsenal is the packed streets for a trophy parade.
Arsenal is getting married at Islington Town Hall because that is the only way to do it, the Arsenal way.
Arsenal is your nephew catching the Gooner bug.
Arsenal is the deep sense of belonging around which you base your weekend.
Arsenal is within all of us. It is somewhere we’ve all “found ourselves” as a certain mercurial number 10 once said. Arsenal is the city I live in exile from but that always brings me back. It is not tangible.
Whoever solely owns the shares of Arsenal Football Club, does not own the soul. Shares will always be bought, traded and sold to the highest bidder. While Kroenke might now control the brain, he will never control the beating heart. We all have our own love story. We are and forever will be, The Arsenal. The supporters are the one constant in this era of corporate control, however unscrupulous.
North Londoner living in exile north of the border. During the week I’m a PE teacher.