Welcome to the refreshed Short Fuse! To celebrate the new look and feel of our sports communities, we’re sharing stories of how and why we became fans of our favorite teams. If you’d like to share your story, head over to the FanPosts to write your own post. Each FanPost will be entered into a drawing to win a $500 Fanatics gift card. We’re collecting all of the stories here and featuring the best ones across our network as well. Come Fan With Us!
WHY I’M AN ARSENAL FAN
I’ve told this story before, I think, but I’m an Arsenal fan largely because of a box of videotapes (ask your parents, kids!).
In 1991, I was dating a girl from Birmingham, so I went to England a bunch in the next two years. Every time I’d go, I’d try to go to a different stadium to see a game (I think I went to maybe 9 or 10 different stadia in those years). One of these trips was to Highbury, to see Arsenal play Leicester City, at the time featuring Kasey Keller in goal. I had the unique experience that day of sitting next to a couple in their 50’s who were very bemused that an American would a) care about soccer at all and b) go all that way to see soccer and c) end up at Highbury.
After that trip, an Irish coworker of mine, who knew I was going over that way a lot (I have a ton of family in Ireland I’d go visit as well), said “have you ever been to an Arsenal match?” When I mentioned I had just been, he asked all about it - apparently his family had been Arsenal season ticket holders since emigrating to England in the late 1940’s. When I said it was fun but that I didn’t know all that much about them, he made it his personal mission to educate me about all things Arsenal - we’d go out to lunch and he’d tell me stories about games he went to as a kid, big moments in history, etc. And then, one day, he brought in a big box full of videotapes of old Arsenal matches that he’d had converted from European format to VHS.
He basically shoved it at me and said “watch these and you’ll be forever a fan”. So I did, and here I am. There were of course the big matches, Anfield ‘89 chief among them, but there were also just a lot of “routine” league games. But the way they played - tough, physical, yet really well organized and effective, particularly defensively - hooked me, and sure enough I was an Arsenal fan from that moment on.
My cubicle at work at that point became a shrine to all things Arsenal - I had program covers from games I went to, I had scarves, I had photos, and I had a shelf full of Arsenal Subbuteo figures that my girlfriend sent me for my birthday one year. All that has faded now - as I’ve gotten older and changed jobs a fair amount, I’ve realized the folly of extensive cube decoration - but what hasn’t faded, even this season, is the excitement I get from watching Arsenal play, which still, to me, feels like it did 26 years ago.
That’s my story - now tell me yours! Hit the link above to create your FanPost. Or leave a comment.
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