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Tuesday
May082012

In My Dad's Footsteps

BY TASHA EVERALL / @TashaEverall

I’ve grown up with my father’s stories of The Arsenal. He’s told me countless times how he wouldn’t leave the house if they lost and how he used to go to matches sporting makeshift jeans with a red and white scarf sewn down the seams on each leg and how he never failed to wear either the home or away shirt and his Levi jacket with two badges proudly proclaiming his Gunners affiliation.

I seemed to follow in his footsteps as a child. A fully-fledged tomboy, I would go to school discos in jeans and my Arsenal shirt, even though I wasn't particularly interested in the team. I would watch all the matches with Dad at my uncle’s house, but I’d often fall asleep or lose interest. I wanted Arsenal to win because Dad wanted Arsenal to win.

Something changed when Dad moved out. It wasn’t one significant moment; it was something that gradually developed in my heart. I found myself glancing at the Arsenal website for the scores to check if they had won. Then I found myself keeping an eye on the matches whilst they were happening. It was something of my Dad that I could hold onto. Now I never miss a game.

I distinctly remember one occasion when Dad came to pick me up and I was wearing my red Dreamcast shirt. He didn’t tell me where we were going, but he did let on that it would involve a train journey.

“Are we going to see Arsenal?!” I asked. “Don’t be silly, I can’t afford that,” was his response. “But we can’t pass the train station without having a look…”

And there it was, Highbury Stadium. A sea of red shirts, just like mine, all the way up the road. He ended up buying a ticket off of a tout for a ridiculous sum of money, in row Z. Arsenal against Manchester City wasn’t as big a game in 2004 as it is these days. It was though Jose Antonio Reye’s debut and also the day David Seaman (my hero) took to the pitch and received a standing ovation as he waved goodbye to the Highbury crowd.

I remember spending quite a lot of the time watching Dad’s enjoyment of the occasion; I even missed a goal, then rapidly looked back at the pitch for the replay. There was no replay…I wasn’t used to this, but I loved it. The noise of the crowd was music to my ears, the noise of my Dads elation was music to my heart.

I had seen the highs and lows that my Dad had experienced, and no matter how deep down in the depths of hell those lows seemed to be, there was always something that intrigued me about the highs. How could someone’s week, month, year(?!) be affected by what happens on that pitch. Now I understand.

I am now 19-years-old and have moved in with my Dad. His football obsession started to diminish around the same time mine was flourishing, but he always cared. Since I’ve begun living with him again that obsession has once again found its spark. He now reads the same blogs as me every morning, and watches every game. We sit out on the patio for hours discussing the ins and outs of our glorious team and of the beautiful game. I like to think I have done for him what he done for me, he showed me my Arsenal, I rekindled his Arsenal.

I cannot imagine any team taking ownership of my heart the way The Arsenal has. They are the one constant thing in my life, they have always been there, and always will be there. It’s an unexplainable feeling, an unprintable love. And for that, I cannot thank my Dad enough.

Reader Comments (2)

That was a fantastic read and something that we need to see more often. A positive outlook when there is only doom and gloom.

May 8, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterTT

Hits me right in the heart, your post.
My dad was a huge Arsenal fan, just like yours. I always wanted Arsenal to win because he did.
He passed away recently, and I found myself checking scores, and gradually watching games because as you so eloquently put it, "it was something of my dad I could hold on to", as well.

Lovely read. :)

May 10, 2012 | Unregistered CommenterAsyi
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