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Friday
Dec022011

Bread, Tuna and Arsenal 

BY RIAN JOUBERT

As a South African born boertjie (directly translated this means ‘small farmer’, but actually it’s just local lingo for an Afrikaan speaker) I was raised with rugby in my blood.

However, when I moved to Johannesburg for my first job, I discovered this special game called football. When I came to choose a team to follow, it was never in doubt. I could only follow The Arsenal. Why? I don't really know!

Maybe it was the skill of a certain Mr Henry or the stunning red and white kit, possibly it was the fact Arsene Wenger is from France and I have a French background or perhaps it was because we played proper football! Whatever it was, there has been no turning back.

Earning very little money, I basically lived off bread and tuna and the only television channel I had was a free one that showed a single delayed Champions League match. Luckily on March 4th 2008, the match they chose to broadcast was AC Milan vs Arsenal

My mates who lived with me in this shaky house in a dodgy part of Johannesburg gave me so much stick ahead of the match, saying Arsenal had no chance. I was confident though.

I’m sure most Arsenal fans recall the game quite clearly, so I won’t pore over it in fine detail. However, when Cesc Fabregas picked up the ball near the halfway line, ran at the AC Milan defence and, almost not knowing what else to do, unleashed a shot which raced past the keeper – I knew I was experiencing my first really memorable night as a Gunners fan..

Seeing Fabregas leave this summer was hard. But I will always be thankful to him for that night in the San Siro.

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