Lifelong Arsenal fan Phyllis, 96, finally sees her team in action – and wins her bet

Phyllis Mallin at the game on Boxing Day

Phyllis Mallin at the game on Boxing Day - Credit: Archant

“I don’t know why they don’t shoot at the goal as soon as they see it. They seem to pass around too much and miss opportunities.” Football pundits and fans alike have been saying it about Arsenal for years, and now 96-year-old Phyllis Mallin can see the team’s problem.

Olivier Giroud's late goal put a smile on Phyllis's face

Olivier Giroud's late goal put a smile on Phyllis's face - Credit: Archant

The plucky pensioner was finally able to go and see her beloved Gooners as they scraped a late 1-0 win against West Brom on Boxing Day.

Phyllis had been desperate to go for a long time, but her son Tony’s season ticket is up too many stairs for her. So when a generous friend lent the pair his season tickets in a more accessible seat for the festive fixture, she was over the moon.

“I really enjoyed myself,” she said. “Everyone was so nice and helpful to me. But I expected to see more goals – that’s the exciting bit!”

Phyllis was born in Kettering, Northamptonshire, but moved to Highbury Quadrant in 1954 and has lived there ever since.

Phyllis Mallin watches on as Arsenal struggle to a 1-0 win

Phyllis Mallin watches on as Arsenal struggle to a 1-0 win - Credit: Archant

Her husband Fred, a five-time British boxing champion, was an ardent Arsenal fan and Phyllis herself has been an active member of the Islington community for decades. She even made the front page of the Gazette once as the “eyes of Islington” – pointing out defects in the borough’s infrastructure that caught the attention of the town hall, who gave her a camera to document more problems.

She went to the Emirates once before, seven years ago, but after a couple of falls can no longer climb the stairs. And after seeing her side win, she’s hoping to go back again – but the bookmakers better beware.

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“She seemed quite on the ball about the game and got very excited when the goal was finally scored,” said Tony. “She also won on the betting having £1 on a 1-0 win with the goal being scored in the last 10 minutes!”

Phyllis, who uses Facebook and FaceTime to keep in touch with her grandchildren, still hasn’t slowed down on her community involvement either.

“She works tirelessly for local people who have troubles or a problems,” added Tony.

“She’s a very caring, modern-thinking 96-year-old Islington citizen who rarely thinks of herself. A great example for Arsenal to be proud of.”

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