Lifelong 87-year-old Arsenal fan sings at FA Cup Final
- Credit: Archant
Blind Peter Gosnell takes to Wembley pitch with his grandson in front of 90,000 people
A lifelong Arsenal fan lived out a childhood fantasy when he walked out onto the hallowed Wembley turf to represent his beloved Gunners on FA Cup Final day.
Peter Gosnell, 87, from Finsbury Park, was part of a choir that sang Abide With Me in front of 90,000 people just before the big game kicked off.
The choir – formed by the BBC’s Songs of Praise programme – consisted of a fan of each of the 64 teams to make the third round and Mr Gosnell, along with his grandson, 14-year-old Edwin, were there for the Gunners.
He said: “It was the most fantastic experience, as you can imagine.
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“I’ve been to 12 or 13 cup finals and Abide With Me has always been a special thing.
“All the opposition stops and everybody sings – anyone who’s been to a cup final remembers it.
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“But to be on the field singing was incredible and being there with supporters of other clubs like Southport and Newcastle, all in good spirits – with no rivalry – everyone just having fun.”
But Mr Gosnell, who is blind, had no singing experience and said the day was hard work.
“It was difficult, it wasn’t just an away day,“ he said. “We were there from 9am to 9pm. We were supposed to have a light lunch at 4pm but could only gulp down half a sandwich because we were so busy. We didn’t finish it until the cab home.
“But you can’t regret it, because it was so amazing. To walk out onto the pitch and be in that cauldron of noise
“I’m blind so sound is everything.
“And to have Arsenal in the final, and to win the thing, just capped it off. I felt sorry for the Villa fan though.”
A panel of BBC judges picked Mr Gosnell due to his heartwarming submission about all the FA Cups he had been to.
He was born in 1939 – the year Abide With Me was first sung at the final. His dad, who attended the first ever Wembley final, took him to his first final in 1952, and last year Peter took Edwin to Wembley for the first time.
“We stayed until only groundsmen were on the pitch, then came a special shared moment. Edwin said ‘My biggest possible thank you. I shall remember it for ever’. Yes, he had had a great day.”