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One Night in Madrid

BY DAVE CURRAN / @DaveCurran1984

I’ve been very lucky during my time supporting Arsenal to see some great games in the flesh. However, without a doubt, the night we won away to Real Madrid is my favourite.

We were having a terrible season in the Premier League, had already been knocked out of both the domestic cups, and despite progressing easily as top of our Champions League group, still managed to draw the ‘Galacticos’ in the first knockout round.

Me and the same group who’d travelled to Sparta Prague earlier in the season all booked flights and a hotel as soon as Arsenal’s name was drawn from the UEFA pot. It was only when we arrived in Spain that we started the hunt for tickets. After finding a very nice, but definitely dodgy, East European tout we exchanged €200 each knowing full well we’d be seated with the home fans.

The game kicked-off, but we missed the first five minutes trying to find our way around the Bernabeu. Of course, we couldn’t ask anyone for directions because we didn’t want them knowing we were Arsenal fans. As we sat down Freddie Ljungberg missed a great early chance.

We’d all agreed that we weren’t expecting a win and that a 2-1 defeat would be just about acceptable…the key was to score an away goal. We’d also established it would be stupid to celebrate if we did get a goal, knowing we were surrounded by Spaniards.  

That was all well and good, but when Thierry Henry strolled through the Madrid defence to score one of his finest ever goals, we just couldn’t hold back. We went absolutely crazy! It was funny because all around the stadium, little pockets of Arsenal fans were doing likewise. We had a little bit of trouble when missiles were thrown at us by the home supporters, but I suppose we had it coming!

It was the best game I’ve ever experienced…so far.

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