A new Your Arsenal and once again we’re off to Ireland, land of saints and scholars, banks bailouts and buffoons, where it rains 360 days of the year and they plan to charge us for water..."oh let the grass grow green over the brewery tonight, it’ll never come between the darkness and the light"....I digress. I’m delighted to be joined today by one of the most knowledgeable and erudite Gooners out there, the inimitable Dave Fitzpatrick. Dave can be heard eulogising all things Arsenal on the weekly podcast,Stand Up For The Arsenal. We met for a chat in the backroom of a pub where we’d been sent to watch the Arsenal on the small telly...metaphorically of course...!!
I didn’t grow up in a football house and I was not raised with an affiliation to any team but Derek Wilcox – my football coach throughout my childhood and my best friend’s father was an avid Arsenal fan, I guess I just picked it up from him. I admired and respected him so much, Arsenal were his team …how could he be wrong!!!! All my friends were Liverpool and Man U fans but I knew I didn’t want that…I always fancied the underdog, and when Arsenal won the title in 89 (Anfield 2-0 win, obviously a standout memory) and then followed it up with winning the league again two years later, despite having two points deducted, then that was it for me….and it just went from there…..so thanks Derek!
Earliest Arsenal memory?
Anfield…need I say more…what impressed me the most was before the game when our players came out with wreaths to lay…even at that age I recognised a club with values, taste and ideals on how a club should behave…that always stuck with me…result wasn’t bad either…oh and that kit…now that was a proper Arsenal away kit….!
Everton at Highbury (We won 2-0)….my two outstand memories were of Grimandi who dominated the midfield and was absolutely superb!!! And a very young Richard Dunne being booked after about 5 minutes and having to mark Marc Overmars for the rest of the game in what looked like slippers – he never got within 5 foot of the Flying Dutchman!!!
Favourite player (all time)?
Vieira….World Cup Winning Invincible….he was just majestic on the pitch…both silk and steel…things just always felt right when he was on the pitch…we knew we would be solid…we knew we would score…he had great defenders behind him, great attackers in front of him yet managed to become the leader and pivot of one of the greatest club sides in history…I was distraught the day he left us and would love to see him return to the club some day…he needs out of City and to come home…
Honourable mentions to all 10 other invincible’s…I could really pick any of them in fairness…
Favourite player (current)?
Sagna…humble, fast, strong, marauding, robust, heart of a lion and loves Arsenal truly…he is everything you could ever want in a footballer and I truly believe his header against Spurs was THE turning point in our season…he wasn’t hoping to score that header…he was SCORING THAT HEADER!!!
Sounds bizarre…..but watching the team warm up for the Champions League Final….I was floating on air…this was it…Arsenal were about to win the Champions League….it was just an amazing feeling….I was convinced Arsene was going to win the Cup he cherishes on home soil…how could anything go wrong!!!!
Same game…..Champions League Final…..we were so close….What a header from Sol!!!!…..and then an offside goal and a random attacking right back and the dream was over…….and so many regrets…..the early sending off….the substitution of Pires…..the fact it was in Paris….I was never so gutted in my life as I was that sad evening in Tenerife where I watched the match.
Sign any 3 players?
Llorente, Schweinsteiger and for shits and giggles Neymar….now there’s a boy who can dribble!!!
Sack any 3 players?
Almunia, Chamakh (for obvious reasons) & Eastmond (his twitter account put me right off him)…………
Highbury or the Emirates?
Tough one for me….Highbury was one of a kind and such a special place to play football….however the Emirates is a fabulous arena that most clubs in world football would be very jealous of….my view is that however much we loved Highbury it hamstrung us from moving to the next level (I know, I know) and we now need to concentrate on making the Emirates our new ‘home’ and that’s crucial…and what makes a house a home? Victories, Trophies, togetherness, witnessing great moments, remembering the day you felt like you carried your team over the line for a win……and for this to happen the club needs to work with the fans to make it happen…..and it will happen…!!
You can follow Dave on Twitter @evadztif.