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Wednesday
Oct122011

Treated on my Highbury debut

BY PAUL SAVILL / @PaulSavillUTA

Arsenal fans are often told that we've been spoilt during the Arsene Wenger reign and maybe that's true. But I've never felt quite as treated as I did on the day of my first visit to Highbury; May 11th 1991, the last game of the season against Coventry City.

The Gunners had wrapped up their second league title in three seasons without kicking a ball just five days earlier, and subsequently celebrated by putting Manchester United to the sword that Bank Holiday evening. As the new Champions were unable to collect their trophy after the 3-1 victory the last day of the season was set to be the real title winning party.

My uncle had snapped up tickets for the East Stand upper a few weeks earlier and as I, an already Arsenal crazy 11-year-old, made my way into the famous old stadium for the first time, I was blown away by the majesty of the place and the electric atmosphere produced by every single red and white clad Gooner.

The team that took to the pitch that afternoon certainly played the type of football that proved them worthy champions. A Coventry own goal, efforts from Alan Smith and Perry Groves, as well as a hat-trick from my hero Anders Limpar sent me and every other home fan in the 41,000 crowd into raptures.

At the end of a glorious ninety minutes the players disappeared down the tunnel but soon returned to collect the Barclays League & Football League trophies along with their winners’ medals. Seeing our great captain Tony Adams lift the trophy to confirm our status as champions filled me with an incredible pride - my team, my Arsenal had won the league and had waited until my first trip to Highbury to truly celebrate.

As the George Graham, the players and the rest of the coaching staff made their way around the pitch soaking up the applause and adulation of the fans for what seemed like hours, the four famous stands sang over and over “Arsenal we love you.” All the while I was desperate to know when I’d get my next chance to visit Highbury and watch the Arsenal.

You can read more of Paul's work by visiting http://upthearsenalblog.com/

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