Was I destined to be a Gooner?
If I were to go back in time and meet my younger self and let him know that he is now a fan of Football and Arsenal Football Club, he would not take me seriously; that doesn't mean that I didn't like the game of football as a kid, my last memory of my father before he passed away, was him getting me a football as a gift, a shiny silver ball. I would play with that with my friends in the rain, slide in the mud, get drenched, playing this game of football with my friends.
I loved goalkeeping and taking penalty shots, and at that moment, I loved it all. Still, outside of the game, I knew Manchester United because the Club had many followers in India. My friends followed United, Henry, Rooney, Ronaldo, Messi, and other teams and players. Rarely would I play the game of football on the console or any virtual platform! People around me were crazy about this game in the proper sense, but I was more into exploring new Technology and Motorsports and life on two wheels., I am a huge MotoGP and IOM TT fan, and my favourite riders include the likes of Marc Marquez, Rossi, Lorenzo, Stoner, Pedrosa, Rins, Vinales, Ben spies and everyone else on the grid. F1, for me, would always be Ferrari. From seeing a red sportscar as an 11-year-old kid and watching Michael Schumacher drive the red Ferrari in the rain, it's how I grew up, and that memory is imprinted in my mind and soul forever.
It all started with my decision to move to Germany in the years to come and realising that Europeans love football and decided to take an interest in that and seeing stories and videos of my friends and peers in European countries enjoying, whether it was France winning the cup or Euro or Champions League, I decided to give football as sports a try. Even before that, back in 2017, my roommate Devang who is a vast Messi and Barca fan., I would pick his brains to educate me about football and different leagues and stuff. I can't believe how kind he was, and my colleague Karan who most recently was educating me on other leagues & players.
Before I continue talking about the Germany story, in Early 2021, I had just completed the first season of Ted Lasso, which significantly contributed to my journey of being a football fan; those ten or so episodes and the 2nd season that followed have moved me. I saw football not only as a sport but the life lessons in it, though not real life but the reel life, showed me what goes into winning matches, sacrifices, and hardships, and I felt it all. I cried at certain moments; all of Ted Lasso's episodes are my favourites, but the team-building exercise to eliminate the curse was beautiful, and the Dart scene about not being judgemental but curious moved me! And the fact that we must:
So I was following Bundesliga, the German Football league, and I found my home at Bayern Munich, as I planned to have a base in Munich and maybe settle there someday soon. But then I didn't have many friends or come across fans following Bundesliga because Bundesliga is not the biggest football league in the world. It's the Premier League. I had tuned in to several Premier League matches before but was still not actively following them.
Then came the Euro 2020. I followed the Euro 2020 because I was in tune following Germany winning the Euro, watched Italy win the title, and felt for Saka. By the way, I was rooting for Italy. The match ended in my preferred way as a kid, and I would love that: A penalty Shootout.
So that's a quick outlook on how I came to love and follow football and Bundesliga, but how did my love affair with Premier League begin?
I was still not actively looking to follow the Premier League, but then it all changed one day, well truly honest, it's a mix of many things. But it all began due to my modern-age habit of taking my phone into the toilet and, at times, mindlessly scrolling through Instagram! Somehow one day, I ended up on a reel of Thierry Henry donning an Arsenal jersey and his iconic goals for Arsenal. As I mentioned earlier in the Article, I only knew a handful of players growing up. Henry stood out for me, so when I saw his video playing for Arsenal scoring goals and the iconic moment on Derby day, I knew I had found my Team. That and when I saw the next Arsenal match the same week, Arsenal vs Leeds at Home 2-1 victory and Eddie Nketiah stealing one right under the keeper's foot, the energy at the Emirates, the crowds cheering. I felt it all. I had goosebumps and wanted to experience that for the rest of my life. It changed gears for me when Arsenal helped me bond with new friends; a close friend who had just started following Arsenal helped with my curiosity, and it's the basis for our friendship today. We spoke and consumed our conversation around Arsenal, The Invincibles, and binging content around Arsenal. It was all guiding me to this beautiful Team; then, I became more socially active, which was the start of getting to know the Team, the Club, the fans, oh, the fantastic, amazing group of fans. Even though I would watch matches before the Leeds game, that Leeds game was a pivotal moment in my life as an Arsenal Fan.
Then came the 22/23 season, and it all changed, starting with All or Nothing: Arsenal. Barring the pre-season, the transfer talks, etc., as I still hadn't gotten the ropes of it, I started following the ongoing season and have not missed a single match. At my best friend's birthday party (Alia featuring you in my blog), I and her elder brother, who just so happens to be an Arsenal fan, it was the Fulham game we won 2-1, we were watching the game while partying on her birthday. Her brother, on the side, has been politely educating me about Arsenal; these essential elements have helped shape my Arsenal journey till now.
There have been some crucial moments this season that made me love Arsenal; though I won't elaborate on them here, I will capture my thoughts in an upcoming article on the season's first half. Apart from that, I am happy to list some other moments below, some recent, some old.
I can say this confidently now. It's my destiny to be a Gooner; my 2007 self hadn't realised it then. I will always love Henry, his goal-scoring ability, finesse, and that nostalgia I connected with! If it weren't for Henry, I might not have been an Arsenal supporter today, so Thank You, Thierry Henry; because of you, I can proudly call myself a Gooner.
A part of me did watch All or Nothing: Manchester City before I started following Premier League, which gave me even more of a boost to follow the Premier League (hence I will always respect ManCity & Aguero) or watch the Bundesliga and Bayern Munich and support them. 93:20 these moments shaped me into liking football, but I never felt at home there(at Man City), but they are all integral to shaping me into a Gooner today.
-Watching Eddie score at home, stealing the ball from the keeper and scoring (I will always be an Eddie supporter) - Playing with Eddie as the leading player in Fifa 22 - Following the fan stories of Arsenal -The Invincibles (this and the Henry Reel cemented my love for Arsenal) -Insta reel of Thierry Henry in an Arsenal jersey -Talking about Arsenal with another Fellow Gooner who should not be named, but she knows she is a Miedema fan.
-Connecting with Gooners across the globe (Podcasts/ Discord/ Mastodon/ Twitter) -Building ArsenalFC.Social A fan community for fellow Gooners by Gooners (Mastodon for Gooners) introduced me to 2 Gooners I now proudly call my friends @MagicMike and @Josh (who coincidentally have similar last names), one based in the USA and one in Spain.
As an Arsenal Fan, the biggest reason for me is The Gooners community; we are so strong, and I don't support some fans' harmful and hooligan approach, banters are alright as long as they don't cause anybody any harm. But the community around Gooners, locally in India or across the globe and socially, is something I still can't describe. Still, I look forward to experiencing it at the Emirates soon.
So that's my story, and it's just getting started. Hence I created this blog to talk about my love for Football, Arsenal, Motorsports, the community around Motorsports and the Gooner community, my start-up and more. I hope you find it welcoming, share my love and opinions, and enjoy!
Until Next Time | Up The Arsenal
Live Long & Prosper🖖