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 (109 years) 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 figure of a 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 got parked, he would be there to open the car door and greet the driver, he would place his hand, heavily, on the driver’s 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 ”bob’s”.

My paternal Grandfather (who funnily enough also delivered coal by horse and cart), lived on Caledonian Road N7, was also a fan; our combined family was huge I had twelve uncles and thirty plus six male cousins, all Arsenal fans, well except for four sad souls who were Spuds supporters. I never got to meet him as he and his eldest son both died within two weeks of one and other whilst serving with the British army during WW11, leaving my grandmother with six sons and three daughters to raise on her own.

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 were always scheduled around Arsenal games.

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

Not that I’m complaining.


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