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Have a favourite Arsenal goal, player or match? Want to share the experience of your first ever game or the atmosphere at a Cup Final? Ever met someone who has played for the Gunners? 

We want to hear from Arsenal fans willing and eager to share something personal about their love for the club. All you have to do is email us via the CONTACT page mentioning 'MEMORY BANK' in the title. Your entry can be as long or as short as you like, just do your best to stick to the Queen's English. 

 

Wednesday
Nov262014

"If it’s in your blood, it’s in your blood" - Jeffrey Freeman interview, Part Two

 

In Part Two of his interview with The Arsenal Collective long-standing season ticket holder Jeffrey Freeman reveals how he celebrated the 1971 Double and casts an eye over the players, matches and victories that he most cherishes.

Let’s talk about some of the players you watched. Who in your mind is the greatest man – as opposed to player – who ever pulled on an Arsenal shirt?

The greatest man? It’s not an easy choice. It would lie between Tony Adams and Joe Mercer [pictured above]. When you get older you tend to look back more favourably on your younger days. If I had to make the decision, I’d go with Mercer. To me Tony Adams is The Arsenal. But Joe was a much more rounded character. He was very focused, and like Adams captained England. He was inspirational. Joe was more slight than Tony and bow-legged, more spindly. Physically they weren’t the same, but they were great leaders. It’s very difficult to choose.

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Saturday
Nov222014

"It had an enormous impact on my life" - Jeffrey Freeman interview, Part One

Back in April, Jeffrey Freeman wrote for The Arsenal Collective about his lifetime support of the Gunners and how frustration with the quality of the club’s football in the 1960s led him to a confrontation with then chairman Denis Hill-Wood.

A season ticket holder for nearly 70-years, there are few who have experienced so many of Arsenal’s highs and lows at such close quarters.

We were eager to learn more about the influence football has had on Jeffrey’s life, so we sat down with him for a chinwag about life on the terraces of N5, the players he loved, the parties he went to and how the game has changed over the decades.

Here's part one of our two part interview...

You’ve mentioned to us before that your birth was presided over by the Arsenal doctor. You must have felt like you were destined to become a Gooner...

I was indeed, by a Doctor Pepper…I must look him up actually. [And yes] without doubt. My late father was a very keen Arsenal supporter and I was born just before the Second World War started and we lived during the war in Finsbury Park. It was destiny.

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Tuesday
Nov042014

"My first ever away game was at old trafford.."

BY AKHIL VYAS / @10akhil

Saturday 14 March 1998. A day that changed me forever. It was the day every football fan in England knew Arsenal were in the title race, but also the day of my first Arsenal away game. By the final whistle I finally understood importance of football and our club, Arsenal. 

Under the guidance of a certain French manager, Arsenal were nine points behind Manchester United with three games in hand. If we could manage to get our first ever win in the Premier League at Old Trafford, the momentum would shift and the destiny of the title would be in our hands.

Arsenal had never scored a goal at Old Trafford in the Premier League era - let alone won! - but Marc Overmars changed all that and put Arsene's Arsenal on the way to an unbelievable title comeback. Just a few weeks earlier a bookmaker had even paid punters who'd backed United to win the league! Now we were on the brink of overhauling them.

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Thursday
Oct092014

"I'd found my team. I'd found The Arsenal.."

BY ANDREW NAPIER / @AndrewNapier_G

The rain was lashing against the windows as the train pulled into Liverpool Street. The smoke from the engine drifted past, the station lights twinkled and the screech from the brakes as we slowed to a standstill all added to the excitement.

I had absolutely no regrets leaving the wastelands of Norfolk. Being away from my sister and not being able to take off my socks was obviously going to be difficult, but I was an 18-year-old ready for the next chapter in his life.

Then there was the football. My dad wasn't interested in football when I was growing up but then when your local team is plying its trade in Division 3 South I guess the 50-mile round trip isn't that appealing. He did join me in front of our flickery black and white TV to watch the World Cup final and even my Mum let out a little yelp when England won. It was the loudest I'd ever heard her scream and my bedroom was right next to my parents'.

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Tuesday
Sep232014

In defence of Sylvain Wiltord

By @SEANMARLAND  

Arsenal v Aston Villa. Sunday 9th December 2001. After West Ham's victory over Manchester United at Old Trafford on Saturday, the North Bank was bristling with unspoken optimism as kick-off approached. Titles are never won before Christmas, but after three years of dominance United seemed to be creaking and we were a team on the rise. This was a chance to be grasped with both hands.

However as half-time approached the only thing in my hands was my head.

Goals from Steve Stone and Paul Merson meant we were two-nil down and after succumbing 4-2 to Charlton at Highbury a month before, it looked like we were about to piss in the mouth of yet another gift horse. 

Wenger obviously agreed because we were treated to a lesser-spotted half-time substitution. Ljungberg off, Sylvain Wiltord on, it was time to go for broke. And this was a time when Arsenal really did go for broke...

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Tuesday
Aug262014

"The day I used the referee's toilet at highbury.."

BY DEBORAH COLLINS

When I was asked if I'd like to contribute an anecdote to this site I said, what, like the time I used the referee's toilet at Highbury? That'll do nicely, I was told. Now, when I think about it, there isn't very much to that story. But it sparks off a chain of reminiscences connecting Arsenal with toilets. And no, I don't mean our form since we moved to the Emirates - I'm a glass half full kind of person, which is probably why I have bladder issues.

In the very early years of this century, before online booking had really caught on, I used to take the morning off (or throw a sickie) to queue up at the old box office in Avenell Road to buy tickets for certain key fixtures, instead of risking the phone. These included the last home match of each season - a trick I learned in 1998 in just our second season of attending, when we only went to the matches my young son was confident we could win.

That year, I randomly bought tickets for the match against Everton, which turned out to be the first of three times I've seen the Premier League trophy lifted in the flesh. Adams! Would you believe it! That sums it all up!

So two or three years later, there I was in a queue of hundreds of people stretching up the hill, past the poky little club shop up some steps we used to have, and the way into the sports centre round by the Clock End where my son would attend Soccer School in his new home kit every July.

I must have asked someone to hold my place as I told one of the stewards marshalling the queue I was desperate for the loo. You can use the referee's toilet, she said, and I was escorted straight into the legendary marble halls, shuffling embarrassed past the other queuers, pushing out the front of my coat with my hands in my pockets in a vague attempt to appear pregnant.

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Tuesday
Aug192014

"I paid £2,000 for an Arsenal programme from 1928.."

Nick Latamsing has been watching Arsenal since the 1970s but his life changed forever when he attended a programme fair in 1987. Since that day he’s been collecting Arsenal programmes and a few years ago he completed a collection that included one from every Arsenal fixture played between 1946 and 2006…

How long have you been collecting Arsenal programmes and memorabilia?

I started 35 years ago when I was a schoolboy and then it grew from there. I started doing it seriously in 1987. Arsenal did a programme fair as they used to do after the last home game of the season and a mate invited me along. And that was it – I got the bug! I still sit with the guy who got me started now! We laugh about that story sometimes. My dad used to print Chelsea and Wembley programmes during the 1940s so maybe I got the bug from him as well!

Six decades of Arsenal programmes must take up a fair bit of space?

They do and you can’t store them in the garage in case they get damp! I was living at my mum’s when I started but I had my own place by the time the collection started getting big. I think she’d have thrown them all away if I’d carried on storing them at hers!

What do your friends and family have to say about it?

My wife has always been supportive. She used to take the piss in the early days but once it started getting bigger she didn’t mind at all because it was an investment. I sold the collection to pay for the extension on my house a couple of years back. I still have stuff left but I think I sold at the right time.

How much did you sell your collection for?

I sold it all as individual lots. It would probably have been too much money for someone to take the whole lot together but if I had to value it I’d say the complete collection – including tickets – was worth £80,000 easy. A mate of mine is stockbroker and he bought a programme from the opening day of the football league in 1888 and paid £20,000 for it. It was a single piece of A5 paper.

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Friday
May302014

Bacary Sagna: A true Gent - and so much more

BY ALAN RANSCOMBE / @AlanRRan

In late 2008, my daughters Sian and Evie had part time waitressing jobs at a bar and restaurant called the Maze Inn in North London, where some of the Arsenal players sometimes went to eat. As Arsenal fans (encouraged by my wife, Teresa and I – both of us lifelong Gooners) they were delighted to meet the likes of Cesc Fabregas, Abou Diaby and Philippe Senderos. They also met and spoke to regulars Bacary Sagna and his wife, Ludivine.

In January 2009, Sian held a birthday celebration at the Maze Inn and Teresa and I went along after dinner. Bacary and Ludivine were there for a meal that night and the girls introduced us. We had a lovely chat with this delightful couple, telling them that we were all going to the upcoming away leg of the Champions League tie with Roma in March and, to my delight, Bacary told me he would give me his shirt (unprompted!)

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Saturday
Apr052014

"The day I took on the Arsenal chairman.."

By JEFFREY L. FREEMAN 

In the early years of my life the German nation were causing me and the team certain inconveniences.

If memory serves me correctly it was about 1943 when my father decided to introduce me to the wonders of supporting Arsenal Football Club.

I lived a short walk from Highbury in Finsbury Park but the Germans had bombed our state-of-the-art stadium during one of the Luftwaffe's many air raids. This piece of aggression was bad enough but it meant I had to catch a bus to watch my first Arsenal game at the home of another enemy - Tottenham Hotspur.

Fortunately, I remember nothing about the match so have no memory of the boys in red and white playing home games at White Hart Lane but I do remember standing at the bus stop with my father as he explained the game to me.

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Tuesday
Feb252014

"After 17 years of waiting, it only took 2 minutes.."


BY STEVE COOPER / @SJC1951

You certainly won’t need me to tell you that if Arsenal finish this season empty-handed it will be nine years since we last won a trophy.

But believe me, things have been worse.

In 1970 I was 18 years old and yet to taste glory as a Gooner. Our last piece of silverware had come 17 long years before when we pipped Preston to the title on goal average in 1953. I was only a year old at the time so I think I can be forgiven for allowing it to pass me by somewhat.

The sixties had not been a great time to be an Arsenal fan, but things began to pick up as the decade came to a close and we made the League Cup Final in 1968 and 1969.

I managed to get tickets to both finals and was absolutely heartbroken when we lost both to Swindon and Leeds respectively. In my darkest moments, I began to wonder if I would ever experience the elation of watching the boys lift some silverware…

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