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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. 

 

Tuesday
Nov292011

The Real Thing

BY ROB BATEMAN / @Orbinho

My earliest memory is the 1971 FA Cup final when I rejoiced in Arsenal’s success amidst a sea of tearful Liverpool-supporting aunts in our front room. My first live game was Arsenal v Manchester United in January 1973, the last time I ate a steak and kidney pie and the opportunity to watch Bobby Charlton in his swansong season. My son was there at Highbury with us in my eight-month pregnant partner’s womb on the day we completed the ‘invincible’ season, kicking at every huge roar during the game and in the post-match celebrations. And my first game with my son was the 1-2 debacle against Birmingham City in the Carling Cup final.

So many memories of my life have been tied into Arsenal, both good and bad. I missed my nephew’s christening to watch us eke out a 1-0 win over Derby in May 1999, claiming I had to work and I refused to stay in hospital on a drip after a minor operation, to attend a League Cup match against Coventry in 1997. Obsession barely covered my feelings about Arsenal for a long time.

Things changed for me when we moved from Highbury. My life had changed when confronted by fatherhood - lack of money, weekend work commitments etc. meant leaving Highbury felt like the end of an era. I’ve been to just three games at the Emirates although the fact I can see all games at work, both home and away, means I haven’t missed the experience of attending live games as much as I thought I would. As a man who works in football statistics [for Opta], people consider me an obsessive already and I probably still am. But what I consider to be my last truly obsessive moment came in the 2005-06 season.

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Tuesday
Nov292011

Parisian Pain in the Rain

BY ALEX SMITH / @TheRSD

It was a Tuesday night and my mate Steve, a Chelsea fan, decided to join me in the Horse and Barge pub to watch Arsenal’s Champions League semi-final second-leg with Villarreal. Despite the pub being completely empty apart from the two of us, the new landlord wouldn’t let us have the sound on – something was said about it being a gastropub. Ridiculous.

I just knew as soon Riquelme licked his lips that his penalty wasn’t going in. I looked at Steve and just said, “Right then, I’m off to Paris!”

Trying to round up all the usual suspects for the Final was a much harder job than I’d been expecting. It had been ten years since I’d sold my bonds in the club, but there was one person I could rely on; my sister Lucy.

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Monday
Nov282011

French Forefathers

BY SAM PALERME / @Palerme12

Every football supporter, when asked, has a reason or story as to how or why they support the club they do. In my experience the most common responses pay lip service to either geographical location or a tradition passed down the generations.

If I had been born in France like my father, Marcel, I would have most likely become a fan of Saint Etienne. Les Vertes are Dad’s team back home and he was a regular there during his youth, seeing them win numerous titles and reaching the 1976 European Cup Final. That was until the late seventies when he left the region, moved to England, met and married my mother and fathered my sister and me.

It wasn’t until the late eighties that football became a key part in Dad’s life again. He was working as a milkman alongside a group of colleagues who enjoyed going to matches every weekend. While they could have supported any old club in the capital – the consequences of which don’t bear thinking about – they were all Arsenal supporters. When they found out that Dad had been a big football fan back in France and had a passing affection for Norwich City (to this day I’ve never known or understood why) as well as a dislike of Spurs, they had enough of a platform for him to become a Gooner.

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Monday
Nov282011

That Split Second of Silence

BY CHRIS HERO / @tofation

It was the afternoon of my 21st birthday, November 16th 2002, and somewhat surprisingly I was sitting on the North Bank waiting for the teams to step out for the North London derby. I’d not expected to be at the game as I was living in Manchester at the time (still bathing in the glory of our title winning exploits at Old Trafford), but my family revealed a few days before that they’d secured me a ticket much to my astonishment.

On my way down the M1 in my battered Peugeot 205, I was tingling with excitement at having the chance to watch the best Arsenal team in my living memory. We were reigning champions and playing with a confidence and swagger which was a joy to behold. Thierry Henry was rapidly becoming the most lethal striker in the league and a much more enjoyable player to watch than that horse-faced tap-in-merchant who was so revered at the time in Manchester. As I neared the capital, I daydreamed of the delights that were to be served up against our neighbours.

I recall it being a bitterly cold day with the wind whipping into our faces on the upper tier of the North Bank, but despite the game starting brightly for Arsenal, Spurs had worked their way down to a dangerous area near the Clock End. There were a few nerves as Stefan Freund lined up to launch a long throw into the box. As the ball looped into the penalty area it was cleared by the head of Patrick Vieira and fell to Thierry Henry.

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Sunday
Nov272011

A Dream Fulfilled

BY JORDAN IMRAY/@Jordan6509

One of my favourite Arsenal memories occurred this year on October 1st, 2011. Arsenal didn’t play that day, but I was able to witness a former Gunner, and my lifelong hero, score a wonder goal right before my eyes.

His name is Thierry Henry.

I grew up just outside of Toronto in a small suburb without any way of watching games. My family had basic cable, and other than the occasional “Soccer Sunday” roundup early in the morning, I was ignorant to football in the first decade of my life.

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Saturday
Nov262011

A Legend in the Locker Room

BY TERRY ATKINSON / @Teewens

The only Arsenal player that I ever met was Arthur Milton.

We were both members of Long Ashton Golf Club near Bristol and I used to see him teeing off with his son quite often. Apart from the odd nodded hello we never actually conversed, until one day in the locker room he spotted my Arsenal holdall and asked if I had played for the club!

Arthur went on to tell me a bit about his time as an Arsenal player regaling how so impressed he’d been with Highbury when he first arrived. “I was just a swede basher,” he told me. Suddenly he was up in the big city, walking the Marble Halls and playing with great players at the all-conquering Arsenal. 

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Friday
Nov252011

To My Dear Uncle

BY JOHN VAN DER LUIT-DRUMMOND / @jvdld

I remember it like it was yesterday; my first game at Highbury, Saturday 10th January 1998. Arsenal vs ‘the Dirty’ Leeds.

It was a complete surprise to me at the time. I'd been bought one of those Arsenal puffer jackets at Christmas, the type that Arsene still wears. My Mum said I should wear it as we were heading over to my grandparents for the weekend and it was cold outside. A little odd I thought as it was not as if my grandparents were trying to save on their heating bill, but still I got to wear my new coat.

When we arrived I was greeted by my Uncle, who was something of a hero to my 12-year-old self. My opinion of him grew even greater when he took me by the arm and said he was taking me to The Arsenal. Now, the old fella (as I have recently come to refer to him due to his advancing years) was the whole reason I was an Arsenal fan in the first place. The way he tells it I was just about crowning when he was on the phone to Arsenal FC signing me up as a Junior Gunner.

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Friday
Nov252011

The Dutch Master

BY MARY O’CONNELL / @mary_db10

I wanted to contribute to the Memory Bank because the creation of new memories every season, coupled with the recollection of unforgettable moments from days gone by, is one of my favourite things about being an Arsenal fan.

I still remember what it felt like to put on my first shirt and reminisce about the days when, before live blog updates, I would sit with my mother and sister in front of the teletext screen, waiting and hoping for it to flash up an Arsenal goal.

I remember giving my cousin Killian his first replica jersey when he was 5-years-old, a gold shirt with Bergkamp on the back. That same day, the day before Christmas Eve in 2001, Thierry Henry scored at Anfield, the first time an Arsenal player had netted at that ground in six years. Even though we played most of the match with ten men, we won 1-2, and Killian, and his shirt, were immediately pronounced lucky.

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Thursday
Nov242011

Mathieu Flamini broke my heart

BY STEPHEN ASHERS / @stephenashers

When I was young I was a Manchester United fan – well kind of. It just so happened that when I was growing up and learning my football, my midfield partner and best friend was called Roy. As he was a United fan, he came to be nicknamed ‘Roy Keane’, while I was labeled ‘Steve Bruce’. At the time in Kenya there was very little coverage of the Premier League, except for a few snippets via the BBC and our local newspapers. Our allegiances were as a consequence wishy-washy at best.

Fast forward to around 1996 or 1997 and television station STV started broadcasting free live EPL games in Kenya. My younger brother came home one day very excited saying he’s watched the greatest football match EVER. He said it featured an English team who had to be the greatest and they were called Arsenal. Even more amazing, he told me they had a coach, Arsene, who was named after the time. How romantic I thought to myself. I was a bit skeptical though, from what my friend Roy had told me, United were the greatest…

I endeavored to watch an Arsenal match all the same. I cannot recall anything about the opposition or about the match as a whole but fell irrevocably in love with the Arsenal - the romantic, entertaining team whose coach was named after his team. I may not have endearing recollections of Gunners games from the seventies and eighties; I didn’t even know Arsenal in 1989 and have no memories of Michael Thomas and his famous goal. All my love for the club is centered on the Arsene era, and from this I draw my inspiration for my entry to the Memory Bank.

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Thursday
Nov242011

Wednesday on a Thursday

BY NICK GATT / @djnickgatt

It was Thursday 20th May 1993. I was 15-years-old and my day at school seemed like it had lasted longer than a full screening of War And Peace.

Now five days previous to this, I had been at Wembley watching my beloved Arsenal in the FA Cup Final against Sheffield Wednesday. 

I remember being gutted when I had bought my ticket, because although it was cheap, it had the words RESTRICTED VIEW emblazoned across it in massive letters. What did this actually mean I thought? I had visions of sitting behind a 7 foot giant with an afro the size of Scotland, but despite my fears, I was going to Wembley and that was good enough for me.

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