Friday Q&A: Meet passionate Gooner Pierre Hertin from Sweden Arsenal Supporters Club

Pierre Hertin from the Arsenal Sweden supporters club at the Avaya Stadium, San Jose for Arsenal v M

Pierre Hertin from the Arsenal Sweden supporters club at the Avaya Stadium, San Jose for Arsenal v MLS All Stars in 2015 - Credit: Archant

With the Premier League season nearly upon us today sees the return of our popular series Friday Fanzone where we quiz loyal Gooners about their views on all things Arsenal. Read on for Pierre Hertin from the Sweden Arsenal supporters club and their banner, an Arsenal trophy prompting his first taste of alcohol – and the best answer we’ve had so far to ‘what’s your biggest scrape as a fan’...

Tell us a little about yourself

I am a 22-year-old Arsenal fan from Sweden. I play semi-professional Football and study Business Marketing in Florida, United States.

I follow all things Arsenal and have extra interest for our youth teams and the supporter clubs of Arsenal around the world. I’m the youngest-ever Swedish-based person to reach 100+ games with The Arsenal.

How did you become an Arsenal fan?

My dad started supporting them after watching The FA Cup Final in 1971 on Swedish TV. This was early days of English Football being shown live in our country. I was born in 1995 on January 20. The next day Arsenal played away at Coventry and dad put the game on TV in my room at the hospital. Been Arsenal since day one thanks to him.

Years supporting the club?

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All my 22 years, but I’ve been going to games for the last 10 years.

Arsene Wenger. Discuss:

A revolution for our club and English Football as a whole. Fantastic first half of his Arsenal career, but second part has literally gone downhill. Lost the plot a good few years ago in my opinion. I am gutted with him getting a new contract, even though it was kind of expected. He’s been under a lot of pressure and criticism, some of it reasonable some not. Being our most successful manager ever, I have huge respect for him even though I want him gone as soon as possible. Arsene is not the right man to take our club forward.

Do you think social media has made the game better or worse for fans?

Both. It is a great tool for fans to connect, stay in touch, and share information between each other. Over my years following the club I have met Gooners from all around the world, thanks to Twitter and Facebook I am still in touch with many of them today.

On the opposite side of things, I see social media as one of the reasons to why our fanbase has become even more divided during the last few years.

One thing you would change about the club?

There are many, but for me there needs to be major changes made on the board and the coaching staff in order to compete seriously again on the pitch.

Another thing are the stewards inside the ground. We all know how bad the atmosphere can be at home games, and me and most of my mates do our best for a change. A few years ago some of us started a movement called Block 26 Arsenal and we all stood in the back of Clock End lower tier. We would all stand up and sing. Every game we got told off stewards to sit down. It got to the point where they started to kick people from our group out of the ground. The introduction of safe standing at English football grounds is something I support 100 per cent.

What makes you proud to be a Gooner?

131 years of tradition, history and class. Proud of following the most successful club of the greatest city in the world.

Next statue outside would be?

Probably David ‘Rocky’ Rocastle because of his history he has with the club and how loved he still is. But for me as a Swede, I would love to see a statue of Freddie Ljungberg after his golden years playing, and still working as an ambassador for the club today.

First game?

Arsenal-Sunderland. 3-2. 2007. Two goals from Robin van Persie and Philippe Senderos.

Favourite game and why?

The FA Cup Final at Wembley against Hull back in 2014. My first-ever cup final and we all know how we won that. It was a special win for me as I had a promise from 2010 not to ever try alcohol until Arsenal won their next trophy. Final was played less than a month before me graduating high school in Sweden, thanks to Aaron Ramsey I wasn’t sober that day...

Worst game and why?

Of all the games I have been to, the recent losses away to Spurs – 2-0 defeat in April and the 2-1 in 2015. Losing away to Tottenham at White Hart Lane is awful. Nothing is worse than standing there and see that lot enjoying themselves.

Favourite player and why?

Thierry Henry. A player who could win a game for us on his own. Give him the ball anywhere on the pitch and he could cause danger.

Worst player and why?

Some players we’ve had over the years make me think I feel I should get a chance to play for the club. One player that stands out for me lately was Mikael Silvestre. I bet United are still laughing at us for signing him.

Pre-match routine?

For home games I’ve been getting off at Arsenal Station. A nice walk across the Emirates, over to Holloway Road, and The George where I have been drinking for the last 5 years.

For away games I get the train or drive to wherever we are playing. Then normally a familiar away pub where we have been before.

Best thing about Highbury?

My dad went when I was five but thought I was too young to come with him, something we still argue about today. Best thing about it for me is that it still stands there now even though it’s not a stadium anymore – quite a difference to how a certain stadium in N17 have been demolished.

Best thing about Emirates?

The architecture and facilities both on and off pitch – but most importantly the Arsenal Sweden banner between North Bank and West Stand.

Obviously there are many negatives about it as well. The atmosphere being a major problem but also small stuff like the distance from the stands to the pitch compared to Highbury. We are still to win a Premier League title with Emirates as our home, one of the many reasons why there’s still many people who do not feel the new ground has a soul yet.

Biggest scrape as a fan?

Me and my mate, Marc Alicoon, went to California before last season to watch Arsenal’s pre season friendlies against MLS All-Stars and Chivas de Guadelajara. After the game in San Jose we drove down the Highway 1 to Los Angeles where I got into some trouble. As I was driving 86 miles an hour on a 65 road an LAPD Police Car caught us on a radar. They started driving after us and I had to pull over. After some aggressive conversation with the old bill I was forced to sign a document he showed me. This signature was a promise to turn up in court in Los Angeles. Arsenal were playing in two days time and after that we were off to Florida. Before I could leave the country after my football season ended in December, I had to call the Los Angeles Police and get a fine instead of the court appearance. Never have I ever had such an experience travelling to an Arsenal game...

Top four or Europa League – can’t say both

Europa Cup every day of the week. The aim should always be to win trophies.

Favourite win over Spurs

There have been many great ones in history, but since I started going to games my favourites are the pair of 5-2 games in February and November 2012.

Prediction for the 2017-18

I think we might be out of a title race after first five games.

All-time Arsenal XI (4-4-2)

David Seaman; Lee Dixon, Tony Adams, Martin Keown, Nigel Winterburn; Robert Pirés, Liam Brady, Patrick Vieira, Fredrik Ljungberg; Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp.

Anything you want to add?

For the last seven years I have been working for the Arsenal Sweden Supporters Club. We have more than 7,000 Members and there are people meeting up at pubs to watch every game, but more importantly we have members attending every home game and many away games as well.

You can follow us on @ArsenalSweden on Twitter, Instagram and Facebook.

Since moving to America in 2015 for studies and playing football, I have started a tour visiting supporter clubs of Arsenal around the country. Arsenal America have branches all over the country and I have ticked off 15 of the 50 official clubs. My goal before graduating college in 2019 is to have done at least half of them all.

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