Arsenal Q&A: Gav from She Wore
- Credit: Archant
It’s back by popular demand – our Friday Q&A. For this week we have a fifth generation Gooner, Gav from She Wore. Read on for his hard-hitting take on all things Arsenal as well as opinions and memories which will chime for a lot of fans, including this correspondent...
How did you become an Arsenal fan?
I had no choice really, I’m the fifth generation of my family to follow The Arsenal, I have been to a few games with my grandad who in turn went a few with his grandad. One of my earliest memories as a child is sitting on my mum’s lap playing Monopoly in the Bank of Friendship on Blackstock Road, which an aunt used to manage.
Years supporting the club?
From birth, The first game I remember was the 1980 FA Cup Final on TV at my grandparents house. I have been paying for myself to go with mates since I was 13-years-old. Bet there’s next to no 13-year-olds who can do that these days, which is sad.
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Do you think social media has made the game better or worse for fans?
My little blog – Shewore.com – is coming up to its 10th birthday on Monday, so for myself social media has been amazing and changed my life, I talk/type, design and make mechandise full-time now at sheworeshop.com. It’s also enabled me to have a great work/life balance, even if most months like a lot of people I’m counting the pennies. I have also met, chatted to and posted merchandise to some amazing people from all over the world.
One of the downsides of social media is that it’s given some stupid people a platform who then have made fans of The Arsenal look stupid worldwide. Talking about overseas fans on social media will always create a storm and it did this week with Ian Wright.
One thing you would change about the club?
Can I have two please? Number One: Ticket prices. With the £100 million plus that comes in via TV deals the extra revenue should be passed down to the ordinary supporter, I’d like to see a discount on every game moved away from 3pm on a Saturday just for TV. The unique selling point of English football worldwide is the atmosphere – so why not help those who spend lots of money making it what it is.
Secondly: The club is known worldwide for its innovations in the game – The Arsenal should lead the way to bring in safe standing.
What makes you proud to be a Gooner?
The work the club does in the community and the Junior Gunners membership, I was one and now my kids are. The way we as fans have dealt with racism over the years and how we used to look after each other in the good/bad old days.
Next statue outside would be?
I would do a joint one of Rocky and Wrighty. Both legends. Both deserve a statue and those together would be special due to their friendship.
I couldn’t even tell you who it was against. It was a second leg League Cup game in the mid 80s. The game itself was completely forgettable, but I will never forget walking into Highbury. It felt like home and I fell in love with the place. If I close my eyes i can still smell the burgers andn onions, peanuts, horse mess and cigars...
Favourite game and why?
The Chelsea FA Cup Final in Cardiff in 2002. That day had everything, early start, a promise we would strip off and dance in the fountain where we parked if we won, a great atmosphere in the pubs and streets before, great performances on the pitch, grumpy Chelsea fans afterwards and we made it home for last orders, even if we were soggy.
Worst game and why?
*That* FA Cup semi-final in 1991. People talk rightly about the 1971 side, the Invincibles and the 89 side – but that 91 side was right up there with them and was so close to not only a double but also winning the league while only losing a single league game. I’m still sulking about that game 26 years later...
Favourite player and why?
Paul Merson, I even had the hair. He was just one of a number of players back then who wore his heart on his sleeve and every now and then he pulled off a bit of magic.
Worst player and why?
Alexander Hleb. He sums up the years we went without winning a trophy. Tippy Tappy outside the box. A failure to shoot when well placed. Tactically naive. And weak.
Beer. I like The George which for me is the best Arsenal pub. Sometimes I grab a pie from Piebury Corner but I also have a superstition I have to buy a match programme if I’m going into the ground. I normally end up losing them, but I have to buy one. This goes back to the 1988-89 season when after getting my first full-time job I had the money to buy one – and we all know what happened that season.
Best thing about Highbury?
Everything. Highbury was a magical place, full of History, Class and Tradition. It was everything a football stadium should be. These days if you have been in one new ground you have been in them all. But Highbury was special as were those who went there. All-seater did change it, but it was still home.
Best thing about Emirates?
The only good thing about the bowl is the ‘She Wore A Yellow Ribbon’ banner in the North East corner. When we were moved to that bowl the club ran a competition on Facebook to design banners to help with the ‘Arsenalfication’ and I submitted the design which was voted by other fans to go up. That aside, nothing, It symbolises how much the club has changed for the worse.
Biggest scrape as a fan?
At 16 I decided to go to the midweek game at Liverpool in the League Cup third round during the 1988-89 season. My mates blew it out last minute, but I still went, on my own. Well, I say on my own, you were never on your own back then. We had three special trains and thousands up there and plenty of older lads looked after me. We all looked after each other back then. From the second the train arrived in Liverpool there was fighting, with missiles being thrown and abuse with a lot more besides. I grew up a lot that evening.
Fourth place trophy or Europa League – can’t say both
Europa League. Football is about winning and winning trophies now. Not winning the entrance to a competition the following year. I understand the point on the money side of things – but what’s the point if it’s not used in full to improve the team?
Favourite win over Spurs
The semi-final win at Old Trafford, Like a lot of lads my age The Arsenal took a backseat slightly when the Rave scene was in full flow, add to that tickets in advance, the North Bank being knocked down, all-seater grounds, the Bond Scheme and so on. By 92 I rarely went for a few years, So I missed being at the 93 FA Cup semi-final. So the Manchester FA Cup semi-final against *that* lot was special to me. It was also a cracking few days up north off the pitch. All those three semi’s in Manchester were, There’s always something special when we travel in big numbers.
Prediction for the rest of the season
To finish third or fourth in the Premier League while losing semi-finals in all the cup competitions. Also that we buy no-one of note in January and Stan to remain silent.
All time Arsenal XI
Ask me this next week and it will change!
Seaman, Dixon, Adams, Bould, Winterburn, Merson, Vieira, Rocky, Henry, Bergkamp, Wrighty
For more information follow Gav from She Wore on Twitter @SheWore and check out his website shewore.com – which also offers perfects gifts for the Gooner in your life.