Even though Gooners are generally a friendly lot, particularly where fellow Gooners are concerned, it can be a bit daunting to walk into a pub full of strangers. Thus here is another profile of one of the Bay Area Gooners you may meet if you come to Maggie McGarry’s to watch the matches.
How I became a Gooner: Long story made short… Became a bit football crazed during the 2002 World Cup. I was teaching summer school at the time and would get up at 4:00 a.m. to see the matches live. A few hours later I’d enter a classroom of bemused 2nd grade kids, who could not understand why I was a bit sleepy (and also quite content).
When it was all over, feeling blue due to a lack of football, I discovered Fox Soccer and began to watch the English Premier League. As for Arsenal, well.. blame it on David Seaman. I saw him play for Arsenal and it brought back memories of the World Cup, specifically his ‘emotional display’ from England’s performances. I have followed Arsenal ever since and have never looked back! As for the World Cup, I always follow Holland as my parents are from Rotterdam.
Favorite Arsenal player of all-time: Robert Pires!!!
Favorite Arsenal memory: Attending an away match against Man City in 2006. This was our last away match of the 2005/2006 season and it was brilliant!
Upon our return to Highbury at 3:00 a.m. magic was about to happen! Jill Smith, the Arsenal liaison officer for away supporters, was looking after me. In order to get to her car, we had to walk along the pitch at Highbury. It was dark and dead quiet and here we were, just the two of us, walking along the pitch in the middle of the night. It sent chills up and down my spine, as not only was it the last time I would see the inside of Highbury, but I was virtually standing on the very pitch that had sparked so many emotions over the years.
As we reached the car park, Jill turned to me saying, (referring to the Emirates), “Aren’t new stadiums so lifeless?” “Yes,” I replied. There is only one Highbury and what a special place it was!
Trips made to Highbury or the Emirates: I have been to Highbury three times and to the Emirates once. The matches were: Arsenal v Newcastle (1/23/05); Arsenal v Bolton (2/11/06); Arsenal v Wigan (5/07/06); Arsenal v Aston Villa (3/01/08). I have also been to two away matches: a match to forget at Everton in 2007, and a great match against Manchester City on 5/04/06.
Arsenal v Wigan in May 2006, was the final match at Highbury and I did not have tickets. I was in London en route to South Africa and decided to go ‘hang out.’ I was in good company as thousands of Arsenal fans from around the globe (also w/o tickets) made the pilgrimage to Highbury that day.
Player I am most excited about in the coming season: Kind of a tricky one this… I have high hopes for Arshavin as his pre-season form has been quite impressive. I also like the fact that he possesses a fearlessness that, at times, sets him apart from the other players.
Anything else you’d like to share: Looking forward to sharing the new season with everyone!