Layth Yousif's Arsenal opinion: Aussie Gooners we salute you
PUBLISHED: 18:22 12 July 2017
I lived and worked in Sydney for 18 months a long time ago. It was one of the happiest times of my life.
I met so many great people – and so many wonderful Arsenal fans too. I still keep in touch with a few old pals.
Quite simply Sydney is one of the world’s greatest cities and I loved my time there, absolutely loved it.
If Arsenal are back there playing this time next year I have promised myself I will be there as a journalist reporting on the team by hook or by crook.
But from a fan’s point of view to say I’m jealous of all the loyal ‘Arsenal Sydney’ and ‘Arsenal Australia’ supporters this week would be an understatement.
I used to get down to the less than salubrious Kings Cross red-light district – no, hear me out – so I could watch live Arsenal matches at ungodly hours in the numerous 24-hour pubs and clubs in the area.
I still remember the defeat against Leeds United that effectively cost us the league in 2003. I remember having a bucket load of Toohey’s New to drown my sorrows then stumbling on to work for 8am. To say I was three sheets to the wind was an understatement and probably explains why that particular labouring job didn’t last too long.
My point is that every time Arsenal play there are battalions of loyal Gooners setting their alarms at early-o-clock to shuffle out of bed and cheer on their heroes – and not just in Sydney but all over that great land.
Or, as I and many others used to do, stay up all night carousing in the hope that a few vodka and red bulls before kick-off would see me through until the second half.
They are as loyal as anyone.
And that’s without even mentioning the incredible story about Arsenal Sydney member Rohit Padmanabhan meeting his hero Aaron Ramsey.
Which is why I’m so pleased for each and every one of them that their beloved heroes are playing in their home city, or homeland – as there will no doubt be Aussie Gooners travelling into New South Wales from all corners of that great country.
Which if you consider that Sydney to Perth is thousands of miles further than Moscow to London then that makes it no mean feat.
They deserve it.
And they deserve your respect the next time the discussion centres on what exactly makes a loyal Arsenal fan.
Because Aussie Gooners are as loyal as anyone on the planet.
They just happen to live 12,000 miles away from the Emirates.
Aussie Gooners we salute you.
For more on Arsenal fans Down Under follow @ArsenalSydney on Twitter or check out their Facebook page https://www.facebook.com/groups/ArsenalSydney/