My DNA is Called ARSENAL


This was originally posted in December of 2010.

We all have blood running through our veins; I’m just the same with the exception that my red and white cells equal Arsenal. You see Arsenal is as much a part of me as my blood – we are totally inseparable, one without the other is simply impossible.

My family ties with Arsenal go back to 1913 (over a century) when my maternal Grandfather witnessed the first game at Highbury. I have no idea if he was already an Arsenal fan but there was never any doubt in his later years. He lived on Stavordale Road and delivered coal by horse and cart around Highbury, a big strong man standing six feet five inches tall, arms like tree trunks, with coal dust permanently embedded in his face, an imposing man and someone to be feared.

On match days Stavordale Road became a parking lot and Grandpa saw this as a source of revenue. When a car parked he would be there to open the car door and greet the driver, he would place his hand, heavily, on the drivers shoulder and say – “hey mate, if you give me a bob (shilling) I’ll make sure that nothing bad happens to your car” the driver would look into his coal grained face and then down at his hob nailed boots and quickly cough up a bob. The fear factor (what Grandpa might do to his car if he said no) rarely failed. When the street was full he’d zip up to the Drayton Arms and down a few pints of brown and mild then trot up the hill to Highbury to watch his beloved Gunners – he was very wise in the use of his ” bobs”.

As a kid I would stand on Avenell Road and hear the ooh’s and aah’s and roars coming out of Highbury and I just yearned to get in to see a game, Grandpa indoctrinated me at the age of ten, Nov. 22nd 1947, Arsenal vs Huddersfield Town and I found my DNA.

My paternal Grandfather, who lived on Caledonian Road, was also a fan; our combined family was huge I had eighteen uncles and forty six male cousins, all Arsenal fans, well except for four sad souls who were Spuds supporters.

To say that we lived and breathed Arsenal is a monumental understatement, family occasions were dominated by Arsenal dialogue, before Sunday dinner the men would all go up the pub and we kids would stand outside listening to all of the Arsenal banter and waiting for our bags of Smith’s crisps, with the blue twist of salt and bottles of Tizer. I really had no other choice than to become an Arsenal supporter and I’m happy to say that it has remained as a dominant part of my life, so much so that all family/business and social functions are scheduled around Arsenal games.

Henry dog 008

So you see my DNA is also known as a….Dysfunction Named Arsenal.

Not that I’m complaining.


9 thoughts on “My DNA is Called ARSENAL

  • Thanks for sharing your very impressive Arsenal background, GN5. I don’t think anybody can top that, but I hope some more long-in-the-teeth Arsenal supporters will comment today. I guess there are fans who were indoctrinated into a club and then there are those who choose freely to support a club, but I reckon you would have chosen to be a Gooner even if you had not been introduced to the club so early on!

  • Marvellous read!

    My AFC DNA didn’t really start until the mid-60’s though I had been to Highbury before then. Like you I would stand outside waiting listening to the roar of the crowd if I didn’t have a ticket

    I remember the men and boys offering to protect the cars. We always parked in Bryantwood Rd or Aubert Park. And of course, I recall the crisps with the blue twist of salt. This was before I was allowed into pubs!

    Allegiance to the Club is something that the BoD simply do not understand, why should they? None of them are Gooners.This shows in how the club has developed int the last decade. What a shame that David Dein was forced out because with him and Hill-Woods went the last of the AFC DNA at the club.

    I consider myself so fortunate to have been a season ticket holder through the first double season, May ’89 , and the amazing Wenger years. Arsenal have given me a head and heart full of memories.

  • N5 .. that’s an interesting read. You never had a chance to make a choice: not some 70 plus yrs ago, not now. Take comfort in the fact that millions world wide have joined your current boat, unable to make a choice anymore. It’s Arsenal for life.

  • Well that is interesting… Pochetino got the sack after guiding the Spuddies to the CL final and playing regular CL footie. Delusions of grandeur!!!

  • It really runs in the family GN5. I became a fan during 2000, when the fearsome 4 of Vieira, Henry, Bergkamp and Adams were ruling the league and we were playing good football. Never did i feel not an Arsenal fan except for the occasional rush of blood.

    TA, i was shocked as well myself. This season spuddies did not do well, but i was too focused on the issues internally of Arsenal that i felt that Poch was a better manager compared to Emery.

    A mad mad world on the outside footballing world, but in Arsenal the staunch idea of stability is embedded in the board.

  • As I tried to catch up on the posts, I thought this was one post I must not fail to pass a comment over.
    Top draw stuff, GN5. That gave me goose bumps, just thinking about the memories you carry about the club, nay, the world; transcending generations and an era so different from the nature and spread of support, these days. It’s even more amazing to think you’ve waltzed through all of that, gone through the roller coaster of emotions, yet remained loyal and willing to chat about the club (and game) we all love.

    Hats off to you, man!

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