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Why did you become a Gooner?

If you were born or brought up in or around London or your family are dyed in the wool Arsenal fans, then this article probably isn't for you. But if like myself you were raised in another country, there's probably an interesting story behind why you became a Gooner.

Being the Addict that I am, I now live in Highbury and I can easily walk to Emirates Stadium within a few minutes - a privilege that makes me smile every day.

But I was born and brought up in Scotland so I’m often asked why I support the Gunners and I’m the first to admit it’s a totally random reason.

As a youngster, it was the done thing to support the local team (mine being Dundee United), but also an English team. Most of my school friends chose the obvious winning teams - Manchester United and Liverpool - at the time (it was the 1970s). My big brother chose ManUre, but something told me that there was something inherently evil about being associated with the Red Devils and I was determined to find another team to follow.

Cue Super Mac's arrival at Arsenal and one of the weekly football magazines - I think it was Shoot, but it may have been Scoop - marked the occasion by giving away a pennant of Malcolm Macdonald in his new Arsenal colours. Random perhaps, but the pennant instantly found itself pinned to my wall and I proclaimed myself a Gooner.

That was 1976 - a few years before I started following Dundee United, so although I didn't actually get to attend my first match at Highbury until 2000, technically the Arsenal have now been my club for more than 30 years. In that time I've seen people from my home town go from quizzical looks when I announce my allegiance, to looks of envy as a result of the beautiful football the Gunners now play under Arsene Wenger.

I’m still the only Gooner of my age group who comes from my home town, but when I return now to visit, I’m not alone in wearing Arsenal colours.

I'm now a season ticket holder and a resident of Islington, so I know that I'm very lucky indeed compared to the vast majority of Arsenal fans. The season ticket waiting list is full and the club has more than 160,000 registered members, while countless millions of admirers live outside of London and overseas, knowing that in all likelihood they might never get to see their heroes play live in the flesh. But that doesn't make them any less important a supporter.

So for all of you fellow Addicts, whoever and wherever you might be, if you have a tale about why you started supporting the Arsenal, share it here. And if you're not in England, give us the details of where you're based - you never know you might find some like-minded souls living nearby with whom you can form a supporters club.

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Reader Comments (18)

i was brought up to support arsenal the right way!, if you live local u should support your LOCAL? team, my old man was an irish man who supported leeds utd, instead of drubbing Ledds into me _ Thank god he did not _ he istead took me to my 1st game when i was 7 1984, in the old clock end arsenal where playing leeds, leeds went 1-0 up and my old man was the only one jumping for joy in the northbank, i remember looking round and seeing these stares my dad was getting, but anyway from that day i was a GOONER, ty dad.

i now watch the most attractive football a team can play in the WORLD.

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterMick noonan

My old man's a gooner, so i guess i just followed... (He used to live in North London, now in Surrey).

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterScott Herring

I live in Umeå, a town in the northern parts of Sweden, and I've been a Gunner almost half of my 18 years alive. It was during the 01-02 double winning season I came to the conclusion that Arsenal was the team for me, when, conveniently enough, Freddie was at the peak of his career and received alot of attention in the Swedish media.

Although it's kind of difficult to support a foreign team when you're only 12 years old, I did everything I could. It's way easier now because I can watch all the games either on TV or live stream/Arsenal TV. Last season alone I watched about 40-45 games live. I haven't been to Highbury because of understandable reasons, but this summer I turned 18 and started working to save up some money for my delayed trip to the Emirates. I will definately go sometime during this season.

It sucks that I started following Arsenal like the glory supporter I was back then, but since a few years back I'm with the club through joy and despair.

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenteraqqe

I am from india and the most important thing that got me hooked onto arsenal is henry I instantly liked his style of play and the way he used to score goals.He was always confident of his abilities may a bit over confident but later on understood that there is much more to arsenal than henry

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterprashanth india







July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterJOSEPH.nigeria

i come from north cyprus moved to hornsey in 1966, my father saw afc play and the whole family were converted to the religion that is arsenal, hate every other team pray to beat the shit down the road as usuall,no player is bigger than our ARSENAL FC.long live the gooners!

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commentermusty

I'm from Malaysia and I've been a Gooner since I was eleven or twelve. Why? well that's when I really took up football, and I was looking for a team to support. As usual, most supporters were ManU or Liverpool. But I didn't want to follow the crowd, but my Uncle's family lives in Herts in England, when they came to visit they bought me an Arsenal cap, I did some research and hey, this is a good team. and they were in the Euro Cup Winners' Final. Arsenal it is then!the arrival of DB10 strengthen my interest too.I'm 25 now and I am glad I chose this wonderful team!

K.L from M'sia

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterKein Liang

A good buddy of mine introduced me to the magical world of Nwankwo Kanu during the 99/00 season. I soon found myself catching Arsenal's games just to watch this guy. One day I saw Tony Adams and Oleg Luzhny feinting and making opposite attackers slide air grass and thought, 'This is the team for me' and never looked back since.

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered Commentergoon case

Im from the south of ireland, i began yo watch soccer/football when i was 5 or 6, just about the time bergkamp, overmars, ian wright, anelka, adams, keown, etc were playing. although i was young i saw a very special club in arsenal, its wierd but at the age of 6, they seemed to me to be the good guys!!! 12 years on im still an avid supporter, ive been to highbury twice, old wembly(champ league), and the emirate... arsenal is my religion and the emirate is my church!

by the way, i love the post!!

My Uncle, the former landlord of "The Shepherds" on Archway road in Highgate is a huge Arsenal fan and since I was a kid he has been sending match programs and kits to me in Ireland. Ive had the bug for nearly 20 years at this stage. He has since moved to Ireland with his wife to retire and we now go to watch our local team Drogheda United (who are playing Dynamo Kiev in the champions league this Tuesday) every week. My cousin, his daughter lives at Highbury Fields so we get over to the Emirates for games still so its all good!

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterShane

Im from India, all i ever watched was cricket. one fine evening the first ever football match I saw was ManUre V Arsenal in the 03/04 season where paddy got a red card and ruud missed last second penalty. i must say it was love at first sight for me, it was my first sight of football and i knew arsenal is my team, im real passionate now, i watch every single game now in australia and we have the option of viewers' choice where all games are shown live...I am a gunner for life....

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterAbhishek

It was in Gothenburg, Sweden where I cought the bug. I dont quite remember how- but Anders Limpar was a favourite although I was a Gooner long before he joined the team.Mine is an extreme case of agony but the joy is tremendous. Hooked like junkie- in fact I'm an Arsenal junkie. Ask my missus.

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterGoonerbeall

The NHL hockey strike was what caused me to look at soccer. I switched it on because I was bored, and the first player I noticed was Thierry Henry. What style! So I became an instant Gooner in the USA. I think any team sport is best when you follow one team. I follow the Arsenal because of Henry and because they're not Man U. (spit!) or Chelsea! (Spit!!)

July 25, 2008 | Unregistered CommenterSt. Louis Gooner

brought up in south east ireland some of my brothers and uncles were arsenal was the late 80s and i wasnt fanatical at the time but i used to watch utd.
i decided that on christmas i would start to support the arsenal so i could remember the date was christmas 88.when i woke that morning my mother had bought me a utd tracksuit. needlesss to say ive never worn it and by may 1989 i was glad to have chosen the gunners.

August 17, 2008 | Unregistered Commenterbrian o toole

I am 42 and got first Arsenal strip when I was 4. Maybe too old for your age group.

April 29, 2009 | Unregistered CommenterDundeeal

ye im 105 years old

June 1, 2009 | Unregistered Commenterbig fuckin dick

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