When did your love for Arsenal start?

Well mine started when I was as an infant; I was one of the few who happened to be born within the sound of Highbury roars and with my entire family steeped in Arsenal tradition it seemed as natural as drinking milk made from Cow and Gates milk powder.

Arsenal in WW11

The war years of the 30’s and 40’s were bleak times and most of the men in the family were away at war, the Arsenal players and club were also deeply involved in WW11. In fact during WW11 42 of Arsenal’s 44 full time players were drafted into service, along with most of the administration staff. Arsenal stadium itself was turned into an ARP “Air Raid Precautions) facility. Arsenal played its war time home fixtures at White Hart Lane; Tottenham had used Highbury for some of its home games during WW1.

The Arsenal stadium also paid the price when it was bombed in 1941. The North Bank was wrecked after a fire broke out and the roof collapsed and much of the terracing on the South Stand was damaged too and these had to be repaired before Arsenal could return home after the war. Another bomb, weighing 1,000lb, had fallen near the stadium in October 1940. Meanwhile tonnes of concrete that had been blown over the Clock End terraces needed to be removed.

Seven Sister Road WW11

Arsenal was one of the leading sides during the Second World War, having dominated English football for much of the 1930s. They won the League South ‘A’ title in 1939/40 but lost the League War Cup Final the following season. Leslie Compton missed a penalty in a 1-1 draw with Preston at Wembley and Arsenal lost the replay 2-1 at Blackburn. Arsenal followed the example of other clubs and used “guest players” most notably Bill Shankly, Stan Mortensen and Stanley Matthews. In 1941/42 a number of London clubs formed a breakaway London League and Arsenal romped to the title with 108 goals in 30 matches.

They returned to the Football League South a season later and, in 1942/43, won the championship and the League South Cup. Reg Lewis netted four times in that 7-1 Cup Final win over Charlton. He would of course go on to become an even more significant Wembley winner seven years later, grabbing both goals as Arsenal beat Liverpool in the 1950 FA Cup Final.

Underground during WW11

During air raids my family used to take shelter in the Arsenal Underground Station or in the Caledonian Road Underground if we were visiting family in N7.

Bombs droppd on Highbury Oct 1940 to June 1941

Even though these were very bleak years in most peoples lives to us kids it was our reality, we were poor, hungry, scruffy and always grubby; but kids being kids we made our own fun and games. Kicking our rag footballs against the chalk goalpost we drew on the Avenell Road entrance to Highbury and imaging we were Arsenal players was to us a joy and it, along with my family’s tales about the clubs history and its players made me an Arsenal fan for life……

Tell us when your love for Arsenal started?

GunnerN5

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81 Responses to When did your love for Arsenal start?

  1. RA says:

    What an excellent Post GN5.

    The personal touches involved in this historic recounting of your youth, makes the experiences you recount feel even more real to those of us who could never know the experiences you had back then.

    Worth a second read. 🙂

  2. RA says:

    Steve Palmer wrote a comment at the end of yesterday’s Post that fits in very well with this theme, and if it is OK I will paste it below.

    I did not get a chance to reply Steve, but it is also a fascinating piece of personal history in its own right, and the ending shows yet another Gooner who saved himself from becoming a Spud. 🙂

  3. RA says:

    From Steve Palmer:

    Morning all, I can see you had a very good education RA, i had to look up some of those words , but of course you worded them to to seem self explanatory blinding mate.

    Of course all Arsenal supporter’s feel that their club is the best, i only wish i could say that, as when my club lift all of the trophies up for grabs i can quite honestly say we are the best.

    Of course we are the best club to support, although prices could be cheaper and FA cup tickets should be more for the actual supporters of both clubs but apart from that yes the best club no doubts.

    From a very young age, i picked Arsenal to be my club for life, not like many who pick a club when they are winning, i picked my club on club badges. I had a football mag that had all the club badges, i was young and knew bugger all about football clubs but i did like guns, and i liked playing football, my eyes glanced at the Arsenal Cannon and i was hooked , at that time i didn’t even know what Arsenal meant, but my father who was a Tottenham supporter explained to me that an Arsenal is where guns were stored, of course he tried to convince me that the Spurs were the way to go, but when i saw their badge which showed a chicken that put me off for life.

    Many would say not the right way to pick a club for life, but in all honesty had i the chance to go back in time Arsenal would still be my choice. Great post mate.

    —- That is the story of a true Gunner, Steve. 😀

  4. RC78 says:

    94 season for me – first time we had regular coverage of EPL highlights on football shows in France…

  5. Great post GN5, I can’t beat your longevity as it was not untill 1950 that I attended my first Arsenal game but I have the DNA of two Arsenal families. My father was a truly lifelong fan as was my mother.

    I remember as a young man attending Highbury for a Boxing Day game where the attendance was 60,003. My dad laughed when I told him and then he told me about a game he went to at The Valley (Charlton v Arsenal 17th October 1936) where the official gate was 68,160. However, my dad and hundreds of other Arsenal Fans climbed over the wall and crowded onto the terraces, the actual crowd was reckoned to be nearer 100,000.

    Incidently, he walked from his home in Paddington to The Valley and back again, he had money for neither the fare nor for entry to the game.

  6. miiro jimmy says:

    i ve been in love with arsenal since 1997

  7. Roy j hunt says:

    My love for the Arsenal started in 1948 when aged 5 my dad hid me under his crombie overcoat to go through the turnstiles and watch my first game.
    Don’t ask me who we played but that xmas I was left a full arsenal kit Inc.big brown football boots by father xmas.
    This xmas I’m going to ask for a premier
    League winning Arsenal team.

  8. stevepalmer1 says:

    Morning again all, And thank you RA 🙂
    Blinding post GN5, I love your looks backs, the History of Arsenal does need Airing now and again, i feel younger supporters usually pick teams that have won something as pledging your life to a losing club will just bring you years and years of suffering.

    I smile today at clubs like Chelsea and Man City, clubs that through my lifetime have had poor support. It has to be said that prior to wealthy Owners both these clubs have had what could be reported as sparse pickings.

    But as is only fair spoils should be passed round. Today wealthy owners can buy success, that has been proved, although recent rules are slowing that down i still believe it will be many years before smaller clubs get their share of the spoils, but of course we are only concerned with The Great Arsenal.

    GN5 you are older than me and your Knowledge of the old days is far better than mine, I was born in the East end Shorditch to be exact, My family moved out to Hertfordshire when i was 2, so my memories of those 2 years has never registered.

    Hertfordshire in those days were blissful i had a beautiful upbringing, caring parents who of course were poor, every body was poor, but i was brought up to work much i am sure you was as well, school holidays was spent in The nurseries picking cucumbers tomatoes and Dis budding Carnations, of course we had paper rounds butcher rounds and Milkrounds when it snowed a chance to earn money with a shovel and broom.

    Although we left Shorditch, the rest of the family were still there, once a fortnight we made the trek back by trolly bus to visit grand parents and cousins, i hated that Journey as i was sick nearly every time.

    Once there us kids went in the streets to kick a ball around, as you know GN5 bomb sites were around for years and as a bomb had landed at the end of the road that was where we played. I often heard my uncles who were Arsenal supporters, when they came and played with us shouting out the names of current Arsenal stars, and although those names meant nothing to me i thoroughly enjoyed those times.

    London did get Hammoured around the streets were bomb sites and all the local kids played there, better than Parks.

    As you point out GN5 Highbury also saw its own bombs, most of the east end had a torrid time north London just a stones throw away had theirs as well. Hertfordshire also had a few Happenings as we had bomb shelters all over the place then, now they are all gone and thoughts of bombs and wars are only on the news.

    Hopefully our leaders have learned lessons in war and i hope we never have to see those things again. Thank you GN5 you made me think back and thank the lord we are at peace, well until Monday Night, 🙂

  9. berg10 says:

    Great post and follow on comments.

    1970 for me. Even though Liverpool and ManUre were the fashion I preferred our style of play and a certain Charlie George. The image of him scoring that rocket and lying down arms stretched up in the sunshine lives with me forever (1971).

  10. David Williams says:

    My love for Arsenal goes back to the early 90’s (before I was ten).. I remember watching them play in the Makita cup tournament when I was on a caravan holiday (cooler back then, I promise) with my family.. However it wasn’t until years later.. 1999 in fact that I started to support Arsenal. Before I tell the rest of my story, some pretext is, My family wasn’t supporters of any football team so I did what most young boys do, copied my mates… so there I was, a glory hunting teenager who ”supported” Man Utd and as you may know, 1999 was the year they were chasing a treble. I wasn’t too bothered and I tuned in to watch the FA Cup Semi Final expecting United to win. I watched the game and it was during that moment when Bergkamp stood to take that penalty that I felt, I knew there and then, I wanted Bergkamp to put it in the net, sending Schmeichel the wrong way, but that never happened….. and my heart sank. The rest is history as they say, but from that moment on it was Arsenal. I put up with months of teasing about how I’d changed teams and I’d always argue the point that, since I started watching football and paying attention to players, form, style of play and not just results – it could only be the Arsenal that I supported. 16 beautiful years later and I’m still Arsenal and I’ve enjoyed the moments they’ve given me, the players that represented the club inspired me as a kid to try things on a football pitch. I love Arsenal and in January of this year I took my 8yr old daughter to her first game – 2-0 vs. Hull in the FA Cup. I wont allow my child to grow up confused about which team to support..haha..

  11. Nas says:

    The day berkgamp scored that famous goal against newcastle

  12. Richard says:

    Well 1978 was when I got the arsenal bug. My step uncle used to take me to anfield i really never go bitten by the Liverpool bug so found my self watching Ipswich in 73-78 a friend of the family was a tractor boy and I went to several matches in that time. It was 1978 I had been to several arsenal games but in the cup final and with my dads friend and his sons amongst the Ipswich supporters I felt gutted when Ipswich scored. In 79 I started going to Highbury with my uncle who lived a stones throw from Highbury and my cousin she was a gooner born and bred like her old man. I soon became addicted and went to every match I possibly could and have supported them ever since. So for me my love affair started in 1978 as a seven year old boy.

  13. arsenal-steve says:

    Stitting on my fathers lap, it was 1958, I saw Man United beat us 5-4. What an introduction to the game. Strangely, or maybe not so strange, I supported United for a couple of years. The Munich tragedy made United the most heartfelt and loved football team in the land. Soon though after watching our beloved Gunners more and more my love for Arsenal blossomed. What a great ground Highbury was. Nothing like it on a sunny day. Eventually I got a season ticket in the West Stand with my Dad. I remember more than one occasion sitting around Ray Davies of the Kinks and his girlfriend of the time. A real Arsenal supporter he was. I remember taking my 8 year old daughter to see us play Man Utd and to my surprise she started singing all the most derogatory anti-united songs with swearwords, and a little venom, included. After my father passed on and we moved to the Emirates, the TV and Arsenal Player became my main way to watch the games. No way can I afford a season ticket. Credit though to Arsene Wenger for what he has brought to the club, although his transfer policy has often left us quality players short. Wonderful club…the best.

  14. GunnerN5 says:

    It’s really good to see some new names on the blog today – a big welcome to you all, I hope we see more of you during the season, and thank you all for recounting the time you fell in love with Arsenal..

    To clarify the pictures in the post –

    The first picture shows Arsenal manager Tom Whittaker and 3 of the Arsenal team Cliff Bastin, George Male and George Marks.

    The second shows the bomb damage on Seven Sisters Road.

    The third is Aldwych underground

    In the last picture the red dots represent the bombs dropped around Highbury from October 1940 to June 1941.

  15. GunnerN5 says:

    RA,

    You put up a great post yesterday but although I had time to read it and make a brief comment I was tied up for the majority of the day on family missions. I wish i had been around to contribute but reading back on the comments there was a very thorough dialogue.

    It’s an odd coincidence that you copied Steve’s post from yesterday as it was that and your post that gave me the idea to create mine.

  16. Berg10, that’s a name I’ve not spotted for a while. A refugee from another site maybe? 😀

  17. GunnerN5 says:

    Talking about Bergkamp NG………………

    Boss – Bergkamp deal was the first push

    Arsène Wenger says the signing of Dennis Bergkamp was the “first push into the modern, international era” for Arsenal.

    The legendary Dutch striker joined in 1995 for a then club-record fee, and made his debut against Middlesbrough on Ausust 20th 1995 -20 years ago today.

    Bergkamp arrived before Wenger took over as manager, but the Frenchman says his signing was a real statement by the club.

    “It was one year before I started here, so that shows you it was 20 years ago and it was one of the historic signings of Arsenal Football Club,” Wenger told Arsenal Player.

    “Dennis is a player who is admired by all the other players and was the first push of Arsenal into the modern, international era.

    “He was lucky as well because when he arrived here, he had a bunch of English players, British players who were exceptional as well. He brought creativity to this group of very strong players and it was a good marriage.”

    Copyright 2015 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to http://www.arsenal.com as the source.

    Rob Kelly 20 Aug 2015

  18. Arsenal-Steve, I was on the edge of the North Bank for the Man U game in 1958 and what a game it was. Their last in London before the Munich disaster.

  19. GN5, I don’t think Bruce Rioch ever got credit for signing Bergkamp, mind you, it was probably done by David Dein on the recomendation of Wenger.

  20. RC78 says:

    AW said that Ozil can be like Bergkamp…
    I think it is fair as they both have great vision but Ozil will need to score a lot more to be in the same league as Dennis

  21. GunnerN5 says:

    RC78,

    For Arsenal Bergkamp scored 87 in 315 games or a goal every 3.62 games.

    Alexis has scored 16 in 35 games or a goal every 2.18 games.

    So Alexis has a better scoring record than God had…………

  22. Nicholas says:

    Bit off topic, but the Daily Telegraph are reporting that Arsenal have actually signed Benzema. No one else is, but it’s looking promising.

    http://www.telegraph.co.uk/sport/football/teams/arsenal/11813838/Everything-you-need-to-know-about-Karim-Benzema.html

  23. GunnerN5 says:

    NG,

    You may well be right about AW being involved in the Bergkamp trade – but I’ve never heard him admit that. He recently said that he ambushed the Vieira trade to Ajax and brought him tp Arsenal.

  24. RA says:

    Do you think Benzema is a trade up on Giro, Nicholas?

    If the rumour is true do you think that Giro will stay?

  25. GunnerN5 says:

    RA, looking at their individual goal scoring records for their current clubs there is really no discernible difference between the two players.

    Benzema at Real 188 games 87 goals 2.16 per game.
    Giroud at Arsenal 99 games 42 goals 2.36 per game.

    Why even bother would be my question?

  26. GunnerN5 says:

    Should read or a goal every 2.16 and 2.36 games – respectively.

  27. Red Arnie says:

    wow, what a post, GN5. 🙂

    Me? 1999, one year before I migrated to the UK. Better late than never, eh? 😛

    Shhh. Please dont tell Steve Palmer. 😛

  28. GunnerN5 says:

    Arnie,

    Any year you start supporting Arsenal is a good year.

  29. Red Arnie says:

    GN5. 🙂

    Some lovely comments today, and indeed, new names (faces). 🙂

  30. TERRY MANCINI HAIR TRANSPLANT says:

    Excellent GN5

    My old man took me to my first game in 1971. I was a toddler so he had me on his shoulders. Didn’t do any good though. The old man is such a short arse he couid have have been a stunt double for that midget on the 1970s show ‘The Love Boat’

    The only thing I saw in that game was the back of some geezers neck. To this day If I see a man with a hairy nape I am instantly attracted to beating up Jeff Blockley.

    Anyway, by the time I was nine, roles reversed and it was me holding the old man on my shoulders. This all stopped though when during a game against QPR, Stan Bowles dived and the ref game them a dodgy penalty. This pissed off some geezer so he decided to take it out on my dad and reported him to the old bill “Theres a midget using some kid as a ladder”, so he ended up getting nicked

    At the trial the judge let him off with a warning, citing good character references from on all those sad bastards he helped fix up with fit birds on The Love Boat

    The Ghosts of the Thirties are Stirring

  31. RA says:

    Terry,

    Give up accountancy and get cracking as a comedy writer — I know someone!!! 😀

  32. RC78 says:

    GN5 – I was talking about Ozil, not Sanchez :-p

    GN5 – I agree with you. We should not really bother with Benzema and he does not even fit our game. He is not fast and he likes to play as a fake 9, almost like a 10 so it will not work out with Ozil…

  33. chas says:

    Superb, GN5.
    Some excellent and varied comments reflect its quality.

    Loving the Club just seems entirely natural to me.
    A real constant in my life.

    My earliest memories of Arsenal are more old-man related than game related. We learnt really early on that The Arsenal had a power over my Dad which was hugely quantifiable.
    Lose, and we knew it wouldn’t be a good time to muck about on a Saturday evening.
    Win, and he’d be whistling Al Jolson tunes on Sunday morning. 🙂

    I remember the feeling of utter dejection of losing to Leeds and Swindon in the League Cup Finals at the end of the 1970s. I suppose televised games were a rare chance to see the team play for a young lad, so were bound to have a profound effect.

    I remember playing cricket on the path and hearing we had lost 5-0 away to Stoke in September 1970. Then, at the season finale, Dad and older bro tried to take Ant and me to White Hart Lane so we could experience winning the League there, but the crowds were monstrous and we all had to turn back.
    The FA Cup Final on TV in 1971 was the first time I really felt the joy of watching a trophy victory (I can’t really remember much about the Fairs Cup in 1970 for some reason).

    I reckon a love for the Club is genetic; with those choosing to support the team later in life, undergoing some strange genome modification via spontaneous mitochondrial DNA generation, whilst watching Robert Pires lob Schmeichel . 🙂

  34. LB says:

    Is it possible to watch that goal too often?

  35. LB says:

    Chas

    We must be a very similar age as you have just summed up all my memories ans my reasons of why I started supporting Arsenal.

    Another fine post GN5

  36. RC78 says:

    Do you think that AW will actually sign anyone else during this transfer window?

    I lean for a yes but am not sure on which position…I hope DM but lord knows…

  37. Red Arnie says:

    RC78. I think NOT, but who knows! 🙂

  38. RA says:

    There are still 11 days to go before the TW closes – and there should be no reason to be concerned as AW has said that he is happy with the squad and thinks we can win the Premiership.

    Umm — just as a thought — we finished 3rd and the two teams who finished 1st and 2nd are spending big to add to their quality squads and Manure have spent around £150m already — but if despite that AW thinks we can still beat them, I would love to know what his magic formula is?

    Every Gooner I have come across over the last few years has said that Chelsea/City and Manure only won the Prem because they had Oilygarch money and when we had money too that things would change.

    Umm — err — doh — it’s too much for an ordinary boring old fan like me —- it just does not compute, Captain.

  39. Thank you GN5 for another great post.

    I’ve told my gooner supporting story before and it’s nowhere near as interesting as you guys that snuck into Highbury without paying but I like it.

    It’s important to know that I was born in Highbury but we moved to Southgate in 1962. When I started at my new primary school a little boy called Stephen was told to look after me. We were six years old. On the second day he asked me what football team I supported, at six I wasn’t that bothered but he suggested it would be either Arsenal or Spurs. I said I’d let him know. I went home and asked my mum who didn’t know either, impossible to understand now as we lived in Riversdale Road but she didn’t have a view. She suggested I ask him why it was important to him that I choose.

    The next day I asked him why and it was with great pride that he puffed out his chest and said his dad was captain of Arsenal and so I had to support them. And so I did …….. his dad was Dennis Evans who in 1962 actually wasn’t still Arsenal captain but had been in the late fifties.

    I bump into Steve sometimes on the train travelling to and fro Arsenal and we always smile at the story and I say thank you for The Arsenal.

  40. GunnerN5 says:

    Just got back in from the dreaded shopping trip with Mrs. GN5 – Oh how I loathe shopping trips…………

    Thank you all for your comments I’m happy to have hit on a popular topic.

    Terry – you are simply a hoot.

    Chas – great video and a reminder why we all continue to love the Arsenal.

    RC78 – Oops my mistake.

    Those bomb sites were us kids playgrounds. One of my Aunts made a fair penny picking up shrapnel after the air raids – even though it was highly illegal.

  41. GunnerN5 says:

    Peaches – Did your mum approve of you showing pictures of yourself half naked – for all the internet to look at?

  42. Big Raddy says:

    Great post GN5.

    My credentials go back to the late 50’s.

    Dad was Spurs so I had to be Arsenal. Simple as that.

  43. GunnerN5 says:

    If you look closely at the gray area of the bombing map you can see the amount of bombs that dropped on and around the Arsenal ground.

  44. LB says:

    Wow Peaches, I can’t believe that was the first time I heard your story? Fantastic, I loved it, and you still see the chap Steve traveling to the games, amazing. I always feel blessed at moments like this when I realise how lucky I am to support Arsenal.
    I hope all things are well with you………….

  45. GunnerN5 says:

    Here you go Peaches a look back down Arsenal,s memory lane.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………

    Long-serving left back Dennis Evans was ever-present for Arsenal in 1955/56.

    A former Wolves amateur, he played for Ellesmere Port before moving to Highbury for £1,500 in January 1951.

    Profile
    Name Dennis Evans

    Arsenal Career 1951 – 1963

    Position: Defender

    Appearances 207 (207 starts, 0 as a sub)

    Goals 12

    Evans made his league debut in Arsenal’s goalless draw at home to Huddersfield in August 1953 and represented London in the 1957 Fairs Cup.

    The defender helped the Gunners win the Football Combination title in his second season of 1952/53.

    He completed National Service with the Army, where he also played representative matches.

    Helping the Gunners finish third in the top flight in 1958/59, Evans scored 10 goals in 189 First Division games until a broken ankle ended his career in May 1963.

    It was the second of two fractured ankles for Evans, who also missed 10 months of the 1960/61 season with a similar problem.

    He was briefly a coach at Arsenal, then a warehouse manager, trainer-coach at Luton Town and a private hire chauffeur. He died in February 2000.

    Read more at http://www.arsenal.com/history/profiles/214/dennis-evans#gMboAeFTwllKXM0G.99

  46. Gööner In Exile says:

    Peaches 😀

    Marvellous GN5 as ever, I’ve told my story before, 1980 4th birthday Granddad buys me West Ham kit, to put it in perspective my birthday is June, so those of you with good memories will know how that made my Dad feel. Now the Granddad I’m referring to is my Dads dad, an East End lad who had moved to Holloway when he met my Nan, they lived in a house between the Globe and the Tolly Arms. So it’s no surprise that Dad with The Arsenal con his doorstep chose Arsenal, still not sure why one brother chose Wolves and the other Spuds (the Wolves one went to art school so could explain a lot)…no excuse for the Spud.

    So at 4 I became a West Ham fan, and continued that until 8/9 years old, by Granddad had passed away, my Dad took me to one of Trevor Brookings last games at Upton Park, Ray Stewart scoring a penalty. My brother was going to Arsenal pretty regularly with my Dad, and a friend with his sons. And then he took me, Leicester home, in the JGs section, after the game I was given a choice, support West Ham….wait til I could go on my own to see football, or support Arsenal and get to go every week.

    We were growing up on the outskirts of Enfield so I was in Spud heartland, Arsenal seemed like a good choice, I was seriously outnumbered at school. But I’m glad I made the right choice, in 1989 I was gutted because we had to wait a week til we could rub the League title in our friends faces as the game was on the day we broke up for half term.

  47. Gööner In Exile says:

    GN5 do you think Herr Hitler and friends mistook the name Arsenal for an actual munitions dump rather than a football club?

  48. GunnerN5 says:

    Here’s more from Wikipedia.

    ………………………………………………………………………………………..

    Dennis Joseph Evans (18 May 1930 – 23 February 2000) was an English football player.

    Born in Old Swan, Liverpool, Evans first played junior football for his hometown club, Ellesmere Port Town. He had an unsuccessful trial with Wolves, before signing for London side Arsenal and moving to Harringay in January 1951. After two years in the reserve and youth sides, he made his first-team debut for Arsenal against Huddersfield Town on 22 August 1953. Although, only a bit-part player that season, the next season he became Arsenal’s regular left back, succeeding Walley Barnes.

    Evans was an Arsenal regular for the rest of the decade, and he was an ever-present in 1955-56. During this time, he scored one of the most memorable own goals in football history; towards the end of a match against Blackpool on 17 December 1955, which Arsenal were winning 4-0, Evans heard a whistle from the crowd, and mistakenly thought the referee had blown for full-time. He kicked the ball in triumph, which ended up flying past Arsenal goalkeeper Con Sullivan and into his own net; the goal stood but Arsenal held on to win 4-1.

    With a calm composure, physical strength and a powerful left foot, Evans was rarely out of the Arsenal side during this time, and became Arsenal’s preferred penalty taker in 1956; he scored twelve goals for the club in his 207 appearances, including seven in 1958-59. He even deputised for goalkeeper Jack Kelsey after the Welshman was injured in an FA Cup match in 1959. For a short spell he was also Arsenal captain, and he played for the London XI in the 1955-58 Inter-Cities Fairs Cup semi-finals. However, the Gunners were going through a lean spell and were unable to challenge for honours, meaning Evans never won a medal.

    Evans was Arsenal’s first choice left back right up until a match against Wolves on 29 August 1959, in which he broke his ankle. After recovering, he was not quite the same player he was. With Billy McCullough coming through to replace him, he made only six more appearances for the first team that season (his last coming against Tottenham Hotspur on 16 January 1960), before stepping down to the Arsenal reserve side. He remained an Arsenal player until 1963, helping to coach to the youth and reserve teams, and later had a spell at Luton Town doing the same. After that he left football entirely and later worked as chauffeur. He died in 2000, aged 69.

  49. Eddie says:

    Brilliant post GN5, thank you very much. Believe it or not in the communist Poland history books were written in Russia and I had no idea that London or any other English place were bombed during the WW2. Every time I hear about bombing of England I remember how much I hate socialism.

    I told my story on this pages many a time, but I like it so I am going to tell it again 🙂

    Polish team I supported ceased to exist in the 80s and I was looking for another team to support. At the time I lived in Highgate and my small son was going to a local school. Half the boys there supported Tottenham the other half Arsenal. I was lucky my son was hanging around with the right mob and he became a Gunner. I joined him and the rest is history.

    But I will be honest with you – I was a supporter long before I had fallen in love with the club. I not ashamed to admit that strangely coincided with the appearance of a certain Frenchman, and it wasn’t Arsene 🙂

  50. GunnerN5 says:

    Interesting question GIE? it’s always seemed strange to me that so many bombs rained down on Highbury.

    You’ve got me interested so I’m going to do some research to see what I can come up with.

  51. Eddie says:

    GiE @ 7:29 🙂 🙂 thickos them Krauts

  52. GunnerN5 says:

    Wow so many varied reasons for us all loving our Gunners – I’m glad that posts from Steve and RA made me think about this post, otherwise many of these stories would not have been aired.

    Thank you all so much……………

  53. Red Arnie says:

    a wonderful day of blogging. thanks again, GN5. 🙂

  54. GunnerN5 says:

    GIE,

    I started to look for information on bombing raid’s around Highbury and up popped some of some of my previous Blasts from the Past…………….the internet doesn’t forget?

  55. Vintage Gooner says:

    Good post GN5 and excited a lot of interesting comments. My first memory of supporting Arsenal was when we beat Chelsea at White Hart Lane in the FA Cup semi final before going on to beat Liverpool in the 1950 Final with a brace of Reg Lewis goals. Hence I often wear the 1950 replica shirt to matches at the Emirates just to show that our ghosts are indeed stirring.

    On the issue of Benzema and Giroud I think it a mistake to just compare goals scored. From what I can gather Benzema works very hard and is quite unselfish as indeed can be said for Giroud too. However for Gitroud Arsenal are reliant on his leading the goalscorers. This could not be less the case for Benzema. He has that incredible goal machine (and greedy, selfish egotist) Ronaldo demanding he be fed and Bale for whom all the Ronaldo epithets fit but marginally less so. As a consequence I believe Benzema is credited with an unbelievable number of assists. So if he can lift Alexis, Walcott & the Ox by 5 goals each in a season with possibly a further 5 for Ramsey and Ozil together then we will be where Arsene is calling us to be.

  56. GunnerN5 says:

    That’s a really good point Vintage – it makes me wonder now how many goals he would score without those two ball hogs demanding that their egos are fed?

  57. Shard says:

    My very first comment on this site was my story on how I came to support Arsenal. It’s nowhere near as interesting as others’ stories but it’s the only one I have.

    My first memories of watching football on tv are of euro96. This, and Sky’s marketing campaign got me interested in football, but the only team that I knew of was ManU. Somehow I never really wanted to support them. I first heard of Arsenal in a video game where they had the shirts of all the clubs, and it was the name(not only ot a boring city’s name, but ARSENAL) and the white sleeves that made me choose Arsenal, though I knew nothing about the club. I later found out that Dennis Bergkamp played there, and that helped. But really, it just felt like my team and I have no idea why.

    So it was 97 for me. We won the double in my first year, and I suppose that helped too. Research in American sports has shown that a peraon is more likely to support a team that wins when they are around 10 years old. I like to think that it was more than that. In any case, I am glad I became an Arsenal fan. I enjoy the club’s history, culture and the way of doing things.

  58. Big Raddy says:

    GN5. It says in your 7.30 that Evans played for a London X1 in the Inter-Cities. What an interesting idea.

    It may make a post as to whom would be in the current London X1 and how many would be English? Perhaps none.

  59. Big Raddy says:

    Shard. I am glad you chose to support Arsenal as well!

  60. Shard says:

    Benzema, because he plays with a ball hog, also has to score at a more efficient rate than Giroud. I think RC78 said that Ozil and Benzema won’t play well together, but I find that odd since they were very productive together at Real. I like Giroud, and welbeck for that matter. A lot. But I want a return to the days where a big chance meant a goal almost as a matter of course. I think Benzema could give us that and fit in well with our style of play. My doubts on him are regarding his mentality and whether he wants to be the go to guy and leave sunny madrid.

  61. Shard says:

    Thank you for saying that BR.

  62. Gööner In Exile says:

    One of those I was there moments:

  63. GunnerN5 says:

    I noticed that Roy J Hunt @ 11:19 used to bunk into Highbury by hiding in his Dad’s coat when they went through the turnstile – I did a similar thing except I hid between my Dad’s legs and crawled under the turnstile and then outran the stewards.

  64. GunnerN5 says:

    You made the right (and only realistic) choice Shard, we are an international family of Gooners. How long we have been Gooners and where we originate from is irrelevant it’s only where we are now that matters!

  65. chas says:

  66. stevepalmer1 says:

    Been tidying the garden, that can take a while, weeding and hoeing and then watering has killed several hours, The Mrs called me in for dinner at about seven, and after watching a recorded Boston Legal, i finally tuned into GN5 magical post,

    Boy what a read, I found myself laughing at some of the stories, others like Peaches was i felt quite moved, Eddies i liked, listening to your kids is wonderful, Frenchmen as well do have a bit of class.

    I love to hear stories of when the Arsenal first grabbed you, when i hear people say i don’t really know why it was Arsenal, i understand that, but it doesn’t take very long at all, when you start to think, Well it couldn’t be any one else, my sentiments exactly.

  67. GunnerN5 says:

    Believe me Steve weeding is far better than enduring a shopping trip with Mrs. GN5.

  68. GoonerB says:

    Lovely post GN5. Early 80’s was when I first started to take a more serious interest in Arsenal but I probably became a more serious supporter in G.G’s era.

  69. stevepalmer1 says:

    Blinding post GN5, I have thoroughly enjoyed reading the post and the comments, peoples memories are great, and i have often wondered how we all became Gooner’s i feel deep down it was in our Genes at birth, I always knew God was a Gooner, 🙂

  70. chas says:

    Loving the Highbury baby photo.
    You haven’t changed a bit. 🙂

  71. stevepalmer1 says:

    Perhaps i was wrong, seems there is a little Devil in all of us. 🙂

  72. Big Raddy says:

    Morning All,

    6.45 is hypnotic in a disturbing way

    Come on AW, buy someone …. anyone

  73. Rasp says:

    Morning all, thanks for a fabulous post yesterday – and what amazing stories in response.

    My support for Arsenal started when I was put next a lad in the first year at secondary school who became my best friend. It was about a month before we started getting to know each other, but sooner or later the topic of ‘what does your dad do?’ came up ……. he plays for Arsenal was his answer ……… everything came from there although his dad’s story was a very sad one.

    http://www.arsenal.com/history/profiles/515/don-oakes

  74. Morning all, sorry to be late.

    I have a rant from Steve, just getting it ready to publish ……… back in a bit.

  75. …………….. There’s a New Post ………………..

  76. footynfoodie says:

    Great story! amazing to know that Arsenal is big part of not just your life but your family’s history too. I always call myself ” Arsenal’s biggest fan” but i guess that title belongs to you sir!

    My love for Arsenal started when i was about 9. I grew up in Malaysia, which is a football crazy country. There is no shortage of Arsenal fans there. i remember watching an Arsenal game on TV for the first time and I instantly fell in love with Henry’s silky skills, Pires’ beautiful finishing and Ljunberg’s red hair. Ever since then, there’s been no looking back!

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