Whenever the topic of soccer comes up in my neck of the woods and people find out that I’m a dedicated Gooner, the question always comes up: How did you become an Arsenal supporter?
For me, it’s not too complicated, but I come by my Arsenal fandom honestly (I think). Prior to college, my family only had three television channels, so while I had a cursory knowledge of the English Premier League — in that I knew it existed and not much else — I didn’t have a favourite team.
However, while living in the residences at Mount Royal College in Calgary, I finally had the luxury of cable TV. That meant I could finally get up on Saturday mornings and watch Premier League games on Sportsnet. This would have been around 2001 or 2002. At the time, there weren’t nearly as many sports channels as there are today, so there was often only one game on each Saturday, and it usually featured one of the bigger, more successful teams.
I knew enough about the Premier League to know I was not going to support Manchester United. But, every so often, Arsenal was featured in a televised game. And I was drawn to their style of play — fluid football that focused on passing, the same style that the team continues to strive for today. I don’t remember any specific game, but I do remember the red shirts with the white sleeves and “Dreamcast” across the front, and that has stuck with me ever since.
As the years have gone by, I have only grown more fervent in my support of Arsenal — despite the fact that some good friends and even my father-in-law support Spurs. Today, with the help of YEGooners, I feel like a part of the Arsenal community. I managed to walk around Emirates Stadium during a trip to London in 2011, although I couldn’t go inside for a tour due to some private event going on that day. I did, however, visit the team shop and buy just about every tchotchke I could fit in my suitcase going back to Canada.
What about you? How did you become an Arsenal fan? What’s your earliest memory of the club? Let me know in the comments.
— Glenn Cook