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Wednesday
Apr182012

A Journey Worth Making

BY JUSTIN MEUSE / @meusethegunner

I have been an Arsenal supporter for over a decade now, but being American I came about supporting the club in a very different manner to those in England. It was not based on where I grew up or who my family supported, but the product of watching as many Premier League matches as I could after I first got regular access to European football on television.

I knew I wanted to support a club from a major city which subsequently limited my choices, but by the end of the campaign there was only one choice; after all there’s only one club that play the beautiful game in a truly beautiful way.

In 2009 I had the opportunity to study abroad in Glasgow. Knowing that I would be in the UK during football season I promptly secured a ticket to an Arsenal home match. The lodging would have to be sorted later as I circled April 4th in my diary – the day the Gunners hosted City at the Emirates.

I only had the weekend to make the trip South so I decided to take an overnight train from Glasgow to London. It pretty much panned out as expected; one stop in Edinburgh, then a full night’s sleep on the train and arrival in London in the morning. Given the limited time I attempted a whirlwind Tube tour of London sites which I’d missed on a previous visit before the hour came to venture to the Emirates.

I got off at the Arsenal stop and was enveloped by the pre-game fanfare before sitting down to watch a great match. I sat next to two gents who had been season ticket holders together for 40 years and we won 2-0 thanks to goals by Fabregas and Adebayor. At full-time I walked to the pub with my new mates and spent the next four hours listening to them regale me with memories of their favourite matches and players. Nothing could ruin this day…even the journey ahead.

I took a late train to Manchester where I attempted to take a nap on a bench in the station before spending an hour or so on another train from Manchester which arrived in York at 3am. As if I wasn’t tired enough I had the privilege of sharing the journey with all the post-pub and club revellers who all appeared to be in their teens; if you’ve never experienced such a thing first hand, you’re really missing out!

I spent the rest of the night sleeping in the open air at York station on what felt like the coldest night ever. It was definitely the most uncomfortable night of my life, but as I said before, nothing could ruin this day. I had finally made it to the Emirates and The Arsenal had won. The memory was made.

 

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