Ladies and Gentle Arses I have a proposition.
One of the finest things about supporting the world’s greatest football team is that it makes us part of a vast tribe of like-minded people.
Whenever I see a stranger walking along the street wearing Arsenal regalia I feel a surge of pride and pleasure.
And even though I will probably never exchange a word with that passer-by, I know that I have a bond with them: they will have shared my joys and sorrows; they will have cheered when I cheered, wept when I wept.
And this bond goes worldwide.
Britain once had an empire on which the sun never set. The same can now be said of Arsenal’s support. When the Aussie Gooners are going to bed under their red-and-white duvets, the Californian ones are waking up and pouring coffee into their cannon-embossed mugs.
So it occurred to me that it might be a good idea to devote one day a year to celebrating our international kinship.
We might call it Arseday.
And on Arseday we might do the following:
- Every Arsenal supporter would wear something with the club colours and emblem. If you have strict uniform rules at work – for example if you’re a policeman, a barrister or a bishop (don’t laugh – the former Archbishop of Canterbury, George Carey, is an ardent Gooner) – then an Arsenal pin or tie may be appropriate, even a pair of Gunners undies or socks.
- Supporters should endeavour to meet with like-minded people (other supporters) for a social gathering.
- Where possible the social event will include a fund-raising element to generate funds for Arsenal’s chosen charity of the year (for example, an Arsenal quiz night, a screening of the Invincibles season highlights or of the full game at Anfield from 1989 or the 1971 Cup Final).
- All present will raise a toast to: “The Arsenal: By Far the Greatest Team the World Has Ever Seen.”
- Maybe we could even send ‘Happy Arseday’ cards to each other!
I love the idea that on Arseday you would be on the lookout wherever you went for others wearing their Arsenal regalia. You would be able to give them a knowing nod and share a moment of togetherness, without anyone else having the faintest idea what on earth was going on.
The next big question (and I’m sure you’re ahead of me here) concerns which date should be chosen for Arseday.
There are some simple options, like the first or last day of the season, but I’m sure that we Gooners can come up with something better. Here are some possibilities:
- December 11th: the day, in 1886, when Dial Square (who would go on to become the Arsenal) played their first game.
- September 2nd: it was on this day in 1893 that the newly named Woolwich Arsenal played their first match as a professional club.
- September 6th: In 1913, this was the day we played our first game at Highbury.
- December 25th: in 1886, the first time the word Arsenal was used in our club’s name (it was changed from Dial Square to Royal Arsenal).
- January 19th: Herbert Chapman’s birthday.
- October 22nd: Arsene Wenger’s birthday.
- May 26th: the date, in 1989, when we clinched the most dramatic league title of them all.
- May 8th: the day we completed our first Double, by winning the FA Cup in 1971.
- St Totteringham’s Day. The day on which it ceases to become mathematically possible for Sp*rs to finish above us in the league.
Some have obvious problems: December 25th has already been claimed by someone else; St Tott’s day (hard though this is to credit) is not actually guaranteed to happen every single year; any dates in May run the risk of being overtaken by the drama of the business end of the season; and using AW’s birthday is all well and good – but what happens when he retires?
Perhaps we should have a poll to see which date works best?
Anyway, there it is: a modest proposal. What does anyone think? Is it a waste of time or would it actually be quite nice to have one day a year where we just celebrate being Arsenal?
Would the Arsenal blog world get behind the idea?
Over to you…