Date: 10th December 2012 at 12:25pm
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Even allowing for the fact that we were a little earlier at the stadium than usual it seemed pretty quiet before the game against West Brom and didn’t really pick up much until kick off. Maybe the fact that there wasn’t an early kick off game to watch on the monitors around the ground had something to do with that. In any case we had plenty of time to buy and consume a couple of plastic bottles of probably not the best lager in the world and reflect on the developments going on around the ground. The immediate area has seen some major regeneration since the Bergkamp testimonial opened the stadium but it`s still continuing. It has been a huge project and Arsenal’s impact on the area is quite significant and quiet positive. That community aspect was something of the pre-match focus of this game.

A pitchside interview with a resolute character from the education field praised the work of the Arsenal foundation. ‘We find that when you give the children struggling with their school work the opportunity to write about Arsenal their work comes along in leaps and bounds’ the kindly authoritative fellow revealed. Not all football forums will be entirely grateful was my unnecessarily cynical thought.

‘Can you remember when you took me to my first Arsenal game?’ Pat asked.

‘I’m not sure’ I contemplated ‘Was it 1990?’

‘No, that was Crystal Palace. 1992 against Aston Villa’ he remembered ‘It was your first time for a while too wasn’t it?’

It was true. I hadn’t been that often in the 80s. Opportunities were infrequent. Somehow life gets in the way as marriage, family, career all take precedence in a way that many will be familiar with already or will come to find in future. In truth taking him to that first game and seeing him shiver and tremble with excitement much as I had done years before was more of a memorable experience than the game itself.

‘So I was part of the reason for getting you back going again.’ Pat smiled with satisfaction.

That was true too. My own father and his father, my grandfather, were both staunch gunners and for a good time regularly went together to games until life got in their way. My father worked at weekends and passed away while I was still relatively young with gramps passing on in the same year. Though I went pretty often the opportunity to go to matches regularly with them just wasn’t there nor did it occur to me in all honesty.

All being well my son will become a father himself for the first time in a few months and I will become a grandpa.

‘Whether it`s a boy or girl wouldn’t it be great if all three of us can go to games together?’ Pat said as his thoughts were finally revealed.

Yes. Yes it would.