BY MATTHEW HARVEY / @colexus
After the rollercoaster season we've just had, it's nice to sometimes reminisce about the good times we've had as Arsenal fans. I’ll always remember for example, the first game I attended with my Dad, will forever cherish the ‘Invincibles’ season and won’t ever forget the day I sat down to watch the North London derby with my new stepbrother, only to find out he was a Spurs fan.
It was December 2nd 2006, the day before my 18th birthday, and my stepbrother, Dad and I went to our local, The Bluebell in Bedford, to watch Arsenal take on Spurs. We weren’t doing well in the league at the time and having lost to Bolton, Fulham and West Ham in the preceding weeks I was very nervous about the derby.
My stepbrother on the other hand was confident. Not only was confidence low after two consecutive defeats, we were also without the injured Thierry Henry and had a nasty habit of conceding the first goal in seemingly every game at our new home.
I remember the game starting tentatively and it was Spurs who created the first chance, Steed Malbranque starting and nearly finishing a move, only for his shot to fly wide of the post. As it turned out, it was their only real chance of the first half.
Twenty minutes in and Adebayor connected with a ball over the top from Kolo Toure and slotted it neatly past Paul Robinson before running to the touchline to celebrate his goal with Henry. I was ecstatic at us going one-nil up and almost spilt the pint I wasn’t legally supposed to be drinking as my brother and his mates groaned.
Having found a footing in the game, we pressed hard and nearly extended the lead through both Johan Djourou and Adebayor. It was though, Gilberto Silva who finally doubled the lead, netting from the penalty spot after a bad call by the referee at the expense of Pascal Chimbonda.
Half time pints were ordered and downed before the second 45 minutes got under way. It was Spurs who nearly scored next, Lehmann being forced to make a good save to maintain our two goal advantage. Thankfully, the nerves of the Arsenal fans were settled soon after when Gilberto, again from the spot after a bad decision, scored to make it 3-0.
The game ended not too long after and we had won! Yes, decisions had gone our way but I took that as an early birthday present and continued to drink and celebrate with my dad while my brother drowned his sorrows with the rest of the Spurs fans there.
My favourite part of the day though wasn't the win. It was being there, in the moment of it all. My favourite thing about football has always been the community and the brilliant atmosphere it can generate. That's why I love going to watch the games live (when I can) or down at the pub with my mates. That day, it was like nothing I had experienced before and amongst the smoke and drunken chants I had the time of my life.