Many of you AA bloggers past and present have met our old man’s best mate, JC, when meeting up for a beer before an Emirates match. Since giving up his season ticket a couple of years back, his attendance has been more sporadic for a number of reasons. He hasn’t been much in the second half of this season at all.
The reason for this post is that he’s coming to the final game of this season against Everton on Sunday. We suspect it could be his last time up the Arsenal, though he may still surprise us next year.
Ant has compiled a photo book to commemorate the occasion. It includes some quotes from AA bloggers and some familiar faces from here also. Here’s the link if you fancy a butcher’s……….
My nephew Matt (older brother Jon’s lad) has contacted Arsenal and explained the situation. As a consequence, the Club sent JC a signed letter from Arsene Wenger and signed player photo which thrilled the old boy. They’ve also promised a stadium announcement. Not sure if this is for before the game or at half time.
John Alfred Mr Churchill was born on the 1st July 1925. Often’s been the time when he’s said that he’s not slept much the previous night due to guilty feelings over the stress and worry he caused his parents as a young lad. On one particular occasion, he hitched a ride in a lorry from London all the way up to Liverpool in the hope of blagging his way on to a ship. The police stopped his escape plan and sent him back to London after informing his parents he was safe and sound.
As a schoolboy, he played on the hallowed Highbury turf during an Islington schools final. His tale from this momentous occasion was that he played left wing, scored a goal but finished on the losing side, the score being 1-0. The punchline to this story is that he scored an own goal from a corner!
His desire to sail the seven seas led him to lie about his age and gain access to a seaworthy position in the Merchant Navy in the early 1940s during the Second World War. He became a gunner, learning how to fire the on-board defensive guns. His time with the Merchant Navy saw him through to the end of the conflict and left him with some shrapnel in his leg which still gives him some problems (when he remembers it’s still there)!
After the war JC joined the Civil Service and met my old man and they developed a lifelong friendship from there onwards. When clearing out my Dad’s house we found diary entries about their relationship from way back (fifties, I think), such as ‘JC says he’ll give up smoking if the cost of them goes up anymore’. As a matter of record he gave up about 3 years ago after many failed attempts. One time he tried to convince us that his doctor had advised him to start smoking again because he’d become such a bag of nerves!
My Dad used to have two seats in Block Z of the West Stand Highbury and JC was on his regular list of colleagues and friends he’d invite along to watch a game. The seat alongside my Dad’s two became available in the early 90s. JC was informed, bought the season ticket and thereafter, a regular feature of Saturdays, was JC turning up in his Volvo estate to ferry them both towards Islington.
Back to more recent times, JC’s love of going to the football is less in the actual game itself, but more in all of the familiar faces he sees at home games. He often approaches stewards and policemen/policewomen, touches their lapel and when they look down, brings his hand up to clonk them on the nose. Many of the stewards don’t get caught more than once but they all seem to enjoy the interaction as much as he does.
As I said before, our custom used to be to walk over the South Bridge to the ground, largely because my old man needed to be pushed in a wheelchair to get him to his seat. Passing the burger van on the corner of Aubert Park and Drayton Park, JC often stopped to shout out ‘Buy one, get one free’ or some such nonsense. The boisterous chap behind the counter developed quite an affection for JC after a time, always addressing him as “Colonel” and making cracks about Douglas Bader and other non-PC type jokes.
JC’s Ninetieth Birthday
Much of the above is lifted directly from a post I wrote asking bloggers to kindly send cards to honour JC’s 90th birthday.
I’d like to re-iterate a massive ‘Thank You’ to everyone who participated at that time. Mr Churchill loved receiving the cards and I sent him a copy of the original post with all of your kind comments attached. It has definitely been one of my personal highlights of blogging on here.
GN5 wrote a paragraph about growing up near Highbury and being an Islington boy which was much appreciated by JC as another local lad.
He even received a card from some Junior Gunners…..
Thanks for reading and let’s hope we manage a win for JC on Sunday. (Whenever we used to pick him up he’d ask if we had remembered our black ties as we’d need them when we lost!)
Written by chas