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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. 

 

Saturday
Dec032011

This Will Never Happen Again

BY ALICE BOWYER / @elcapitancooks

“Come on, just hold my hand,” said my dad as we walked together up Wembley Way for my first ever football match. It was April, 1991, The FA Cup semi-final against Spurs. I was 11.

I still can't believe that it was my first football match, what was my dad thinking?

He took me, along with my two Arsenal mad cousins, and as I held his hand tightly, I was open mouthed in awe at the size of it all. So many people, such a massive building. I had no idea what was to come over the next couple of hours.

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Friday
Dec022011

Sharing the Moment

BY RICKY GARCHA / @geezypeas

I thought long and hard about what to write before adding an entry to the Memory Bank...Which game? Which goal? Which player? In the end, I couldn’t decide on one single event, so instead I've opted to write about us and what it means to be a Gooner.

I used to think that only Londoners could know what "Ooh to Be" meant and that only local Gooners could love the club like I do. I was under the assumption that the further away you lived, the more your love for Arsenal was built and relied on success.

I was actually born in Hammersmith and raised on a poor multi-storey council estate in west London (where most couldn't afford to get through the week, let alone buy a ticket for the footy) so I could never claim to have been a regular at The Arsenal in my youth.

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Friday
Dec022011

Bread, Tuna and Arsenal 

BY RIAN JOUBERT

As a South African born boertjie (directly translated this means ‘small farmer’, but actually it’s just local lingo for an Afrikaan speaker) I was raised with rugby in my blood.

However, when I moved to Johannesburg for my first job, I discovered this special game called football. When I came to choose a team to follow, it was never in doubt. I could only follow The Arsenal. Why? I don't really know!

Maybe it was the skill of a certain Mr Henry or the stunning red and white kit, possibly it was the fact Arsene Wenger is from France and I have a French background or perhaps it was because we played proper football! Whatever it was, there has been no turning back.

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Thursday
Dec012011

100 Not Out

BY PAUL BIDDISS / @The_North_Bank

The Arsenal had started the 1994/1995 season in a desperate fashion. Despite winning the opening game of the season 3-0 against Manchester City at Highbury, they would not experience victory in the league until the end of September at West Ham. In need of points and a run of form, the Gunners welcomed a lowly Crystal Palace side to The Home of Football at the beginning of October.

When I was younger opportunities to watch The Arsenal were generally few and far between. This was in part due to the difficulty of getting tickets if you weren’t a member and also down to the fact I was totally reliant on my dad funding the day out. It therefore comes as little surprise that when I was handed tickets on my ninth birthday to watch the team from the North Bank I reacted with suitable childish enthusiasm.

I had only been to one game prior to the Palace game (Ipswich in 1993) and was buzzing about seeing my hero, Ian Wright. I had built an unhealthy obsession with Wrighty following his exploits in the FA Cup finals of 1993 (Linighan’s 120th minute header another classic early memory, but that’s for another day) and although the team had started the season poorly, Wrighty had been in fine form, scoring goals at home and in Europe. After netting a brace in Nicosia a couple of days beforehand, he was on 99 goals going into the Palace game. This statistic had neither escaped my mind, nor my brother’s as we arrived on Gillespie Road alongside our Dad.

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Thursday
Dec012011

A Trip Worth Making

BY DEREK WHITE / @cooley1972

March 1990. I was 18-years-old and still a student in the final year of secondary school when my friend and I, both Gooners, decided it was about time we finally took in a game at Highbury.

It wasn’t exactly a convenient journey from where we lived in Ireland and required taking a car to Dublin, a ferry to Holyhead and an overnight coach to London. Moreover, it also meant missing my French exam, which was due to take place on the Friday, unless I persuaded my teacher to let me take it early. This, as it turns out, would not be the last time that The Arsenal would come before an exam.

Amazingly, after much begging and pleading, my French tutor finally relented and allowed me to take the exam a day early. Safe in the knowledge that I had probably failed the paper, we jumped in the car to Dublin on the first part of our epic journey.

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Wednesday
Nov302011

Never Easy with The Arsenal

BY JOHN VERLING / @JohnVerling

Much has been written about how you choose your football club and how that choice is handed down from generation to generation. Not all choices are voluntary, and in the case of Spurs fans this borders on child abuse, but we all have a story about how our irrational love of the Arsenal began. This is mine. A story of how that love grew very quickly and has been a constant in the last thirty-nine of my forty five years on this earth.

I was almost 6-years-old, that ‘almost’ being pretty important at that age, when I was playing football ‘Up on the Road.’ It was where we played all out matches ‘Up on the Road,’ a place where boys of all ages from the four surrounding terraces would meet without arrangement every weekend and every evening so long as the light permitted.

On this one particular Sunday morning, one of the older boys, probably about 12, came down full of talk about how his team had just won The Cup. I was captivated as he spoke with excitement, naming the players, who had scored, what it had been like watching on his uncle’s television. I mean, this was the most popular boy on the road – it made it an even bigger deal. He was the fastest, strongest and best player, he even owned the football…and his team had just won The Cup.

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Tuesday
Nov292011

Adult Entertainment

BY DAVID JAHNGIR / @jagsy10

I had been to Arsenal games as a kid, both at White Hart Lane and also Upton Park, but what felt like my first proper game as an adult was the 1994 Cup Winners’ Cup semi-final against French side Paris Saint Germain at Highbury.

We had sneaked a draw in the Parc Des Princes a week earlier with a goal from the ever dependable in Ian Wright and were faced with completing the job with the prospect of our first European final in fourteen years on the horizon.

I was in the Clock End for the game and only when I got to the stadium did I realise just how close I was going to be to the away fans. At the time our opponents had a whole host of stars on their books including Alain Roche, David Ginola, Valdo and George Weah. They were undoubtedly one of the most glamorous sides to visit N5 in years and real threat to George Graham’s solid, but unspectacular unit. 

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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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