}); How my Arsenal love affair started regardless of dad being a Tottenham fan, why I am going to at all times miss Highbury and my favorite reminiscences as a lifelong Gooner, together with celebratory drinks with Arsene Wenger - UK News Broadcasts
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How my Arsenal love affair started regardless of dad being a Tottenham fan, why I am going to at all times miss Highbury and my favorite reminiscences as a lifelong Gooner, together with celebratory drinks with Arsene Wenger


Forward of as we speak’s north London derby, Piers Morgan displays on a life following Arsenal and the reminiscences it has given him…

My crew is Arsenal and it goes again to 1971 after we gained the double and I used to be six years outdated. Charlie George scored that tremendous 25-yard screamer at Wembley. And that was it. I used to be in love. With Arsenal. With Charlie, with Frank McLintock, with Bob Wilson, with George Graham and Pat Rice. And that was the beginning of a 49-year love affair, with all of the torment that love brings.

It was the daybreak of color tv, they’d nice yellow and blue shirts. I’ve a type of shirts signed by Charlie George, one in every of my prized possessions. Individuals speak concerning the final 20 years by means of rose-tinted spectacles as if we by no means had a terrific crew; the ’71 crew that gained the double was a very nice facet, from again to entrance. One of many biggest in Arsenal’s historical past.

Piers idolised Charlie George as a young Gooner

Piers idolised Charlie George as a younger Gooner

The complication was that my dad was and nonetheless is a lifelong Spurs fan. He was operating a pub down in Sussex and took his eye off the ball; earlier than he knew it… 

Charlie George was so beloved. There have been numerous nice gamers, however once you speak about probably the most beloved, it tends to be folks like Charlie George or David Rocastle or Ian Wright or Ray Parlour or Martin Keown. Not essentially those you could suppose, however those that have an actual connection from the followers.

In Charlie’s case, he had a unprecedented story. He was the fan from the North Financial institution who scored the profitable purpose within the FA Cup ultimate. The largest cup competitors, arguably in world soccer.

The Wembley FA Cup days had been so sensible; it was a nationwide occasion, the construct up, the entire day, over 20 million folks watching. It was like watching one of many Muhammad Ali fights.

Arsenal fans standing outside their houses in Fife Street, Islington, which had been decorated to show support for their club in the FA Cup final

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Arsenal followers standing outdoors their homes in Fife Avenue, Islington, which had been embellished to indicate assist for his or her membership within the FA Cup ultimate

Arsenal captain Frank Mclintock holds aloft the FA Cup after his team’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool in 1971

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Arsenal captain Frank Mclintock holds aloft the FA Cup after his crew’s 2-1 victory over Liverpool in 1971

One of many saddest issues about trendy soccer is that my boys and my daughter, who’re all Arsenal followers, have by no means skilled what the FA Cup meant. It has by no means meant as a lot to this technology as it did to us.

My mum remembers that inside hours, I used to be a crazed Arsenal fan. Up went all of the posters on my partitions. I had Charlie George, Bob Wilson, Frank McLintock, the entire double-winning crew. I fell in love with the membership. The primary recreation I went to, it was 1972 – Arsenal v Manchester United. We gained 3-Zero at Highbury with targets from John Radford, Ray Kennedy and Peter Simpson. I used to be seven years outdated.

I keep in mind my dad, god bless him a Spurs fan. I can keep in mind the odor, the noise. There have been no all-seaters. I used to be standing within the North Financial institution with my dad and the gang was swaying and the beer was all over the place and the odor of the hotdogs…

Piers vividly remembers standing on the Arsenal terraces as a young boy

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Piers vividly remembers standing on the Arsenal terraces as a younger boy

I watched Fever Pitch with my daughter, who’s eight, the opposite evening, so she may get a way of how completely different it was and perceive what soccer was like. Colin Firth’s character as a child, that was like me as a child. It wasn’t as scientific and clear and secure and cozy. Hooliganism was rife. I’ve to be sincere, as a younger child, it was oddly thrilling. It was extra harmful and due to this fact extra thrilling. I wouldn’t say it’s unhappy that it’s cleaner and safer, it’s completely different.

I’ve 4 season tickets now, however my youngsters take these. I’ve a few buddies who’ve bins. I’m very fortunate. When you’ve a raised profile and also you’re on telly, it’s not so simple as it was once. I drive, I park below the stadium and it’s an exquisite stadium, however it’s not Highbury. It’ll by no means be Highbury, I miss it a lot.

Piers will always miss Highbury – Arsenal’s home for 103 years before they moved across north London to the Emirates in 2006

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Piers will at all times miss Highbury – Arsenal’s residence for 103 years earlier than they moved throughout north London to the Emirates in 2006

As an expertise of going to the match, it’s very civilised; we now have a pleasant meal, a glass of wine. It’s a good distance from standing within the North Financial institution. I put the arduous yards in early!

After we gained the league within the Invincibles yr at White Hart Lane in 2004, I ended up within the boardroom with my Dad.

Everybody for Spurs had left clearly. The doorways swung open and in got here Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice. I grabbed a bottle of wine and we sat and talked soccer for an hour. It was most likely the final time I spoke to Wenger, however it was particular!

No query, the longer Wenger stayed on as supervisor and it dragged on, the extra unhappy it received. On the finish, I didn’t see anybody who would shed a tear for him. I by no means thought that day would come. It was a tragic, elongated ending to his time at Arsenal and searching again I’d quite he had gone seven or eight years beforehand.

Wenger won three titles with Arsenal in the early part of his reign but failed to deliver the Premier League in his last 14 years at the helm

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Wenger gained three titles with Arsenal within the early a part of his reign however did not ship the Premier League in his final 14 years on the helm

I, like fairly a number of followers, had detected he had misplaced that edge. Sure, we gained some FA Cups, however they don’t seem to be the identical when it comes to how that match is valued by the highest gamers and coaches.

We haven’t competed within the league since 2004-05 so I felt that Wenger went on a 3rd too lengthy. It was unhappy for the membership, it dragged us down and it’s arduous to get again up once more.

It was unhappy for Wenger. It wasn’t tinged with the identical remorse as when Sir Alex Ferguson left Manchester United as a Premier League champion. I may see Wenger didn’t wish to go away on a low, like a drug addict with the following excessive across the nook.

Sufficient time has handed now that I can look again to these first eight years of his administration and say it was the best interval within the historical past of the membership.

1. Arsenal's 2003-04 team

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Arsenal’s Invincibles of 2003-2004 stay the one crew in Premier League historical past to go the whole season unbeaten

Piers Morgan’s all-time Arsenal XI options an all-English defence, however no Sol Campbell, and consists of his boyhood Highbury hero – who else makes the minimize?


The soccer he gave us was totally sensible. When he and Ferguson had been going at one another, it was one of many biggest battles in soccer historical past.

For eight years he was Arsenal’s biggest supervisor and reworked the membership. He gave us a uniquely sensible model of soccer and through that interval was the perfect supervisor on the planet. He reworked English soccer.

Mikel Arteta appears to be like and sounds the half. He’s doing all the suitable issues. I like his model, I like him personally.

And, given he has no expertise as a supervisor, he has been spectacular. I’ve confidence that if he’s given the cash, he can get Arsenal again competing. However will he be given the cash? Can he preserve a participant like Pierre-Emerick Aubameyang?

To all Arsenal followers, we’re all on this collectively. It’s typically very painful, however there’s little question within the 49 years I’ve been following the membership we now have had nice moments.

We should always at all times cherish the good moments as a result of, as we now know, the dangerous occasions are by no means very far-off.


My favorite present Arsenal participant

Aubameyang, for sure. Not simply because he is a superb goalscorer. He’s the perfect since Thierry Henry and one you’d again one-on-one with the goalkeeper – that’s what you want from a prime striker. However I like his angle.

I had heard rumours earlier than he got here that he may very well be tough, however he’s nothing like that. He has been a smiling power for positivity. He’s been surrounded by mediocrity, surrounded by people who find themselves dishonest their residing, like [Mesut] Ozil and others, incomes large salaries and never placing a shift in.

Aubameyang has been a power for positivity and good; at all times pleased, at all times striving to enhance the crew. If we had eleven gamers like him, we’d be up there difficult for the title. Comfortably my favorite participant.

Aubameyang has scored 64 goals in 103 games for Arsenal – and Piers is a big fan of the Gabonese striker

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Aubameyang has scored 64 targets in 103 video games for Arsenal – and Piers is a giant fan of the Gabonese striker

My favorite Arsenal supervisor

I may select one in every of three. Hebert Chapman constructed Arsenal… George Graham gained two league titles, together with profitable the title at Anfield towards the best ever Liverpool crew and he gained a European trophy, which Wenger by no means did. However in the long run, I’ve gone for Arsene Wenger, with the caveat – the primary eight years.

He reworked Arsenal. He gave us a uniquely sensible model of soccer, for eight years, he was the perfect supervisor in world soccer. He additionally reworked English soccer.

I used to know Arsene fairly properly. I’d like to have an after the conflict dinner with him. I ponder if he’s actually sincere, I do know soccer was his all consuming life, however I ponder if he had his time once more… would he have gone after profitable the FA Cup in 2013? It will have been a significantly better time for him to have left and the membership could be in a greater place now.

After his lengthy and tortuous goodbye was now traditionally to miss the glory years, which had been totally sensible. He misplaced his greatest gamers and changed them with gamers who weren’t adequate. They had been good gamers, however we went from being a crew with Bergkamp and Vieria and Petit and Adams and Bergkamp and Pires and become a crew with Giroud and Ramsey, who’re excellent footballers, however they don’t seem to be on the identical degree.

I’d have ferocious debates with Arsenal followers and say: ‘Within the final ten years of Wenger’s reign, what number of of these gamers would get into Wenger’s title profitable groups? The reply is none of them.’ That mentioned all of it. We went from a crew of world beaters to a crew the many of the world thought they may beat.


Piers Morgan’s all-time Arsenal XI options an all-English defence, however no Sol Campbell, and consists of his boyhood Highbury hero – who else makes the minimize?


My favorite non-Arsenal participant

Cristiano Ronaldo. I went to Turin… he did say I’ve nice abs. To say it’s not one thing I hear fairly often is an understatement.

I don’t have a favorite international crew, however I do have a favorite international participant. When he was at Actual Madrid, it was Actual Madrid. Now he’s at Juventus, it’s Juventus.

I believe he’s the perfect participant to have ever performed the sport. Moist Wednesday in Bolton and also you want a purpose to avoid wasting your life – I’d put cash on Cristiano. We’ve turn into fairly good buddies. We textual content one another most weeks.

He’s received this ferocious aggressive spirit, the like of which I’ve not often encountered. He’s 34 , Lionel] Messi is simply behind him and for 16 years we now have had these two guys on the peak of their powers. I’m a Ronaldo man, I typically have an argument with Gary Lineker. The 2 of them are the stand-out gamers ever. He’s a Messi fanboy. I’m a Ronaldo fanboy.

Look, Messi; he’s been at one membership, he’s by no means finished it on the worldwide stage, his report within the Champions League is nowhere close to nearly as good as Ronaldo’s within the closing levels when it comes to targets scored… Ronaldo has finished it on the worldwide stage, the Champions League and sensible in 4 completely different nations – Portugal, England, Spain and now Italy.

Ronaldo has challenged himself extra, succeeding in each league. Messi has by no means risked it, he has by no means left Barcelona. There’s something to be mentioned for one membership gamers, like Paolo Maldini, I don’t wish to denigrate Messi, however it’s Ronaldo for me.

Piers presented a lengthy TV interview with Ronaldo last year and took the chance to hand him a personalised Arsenal shirt

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Piers offered a prolonged TV interview with Ronaldo final yr and took the prospect at hand him a personalised Arsenal shirt

My favorite Arsenal memorabilia

The shirts that I’ve personally signed by the gamers. Charlie George’s shirt, Dennis Bergkamp’s, Thierry Henry’s shirt signed from the Invincibles season, though that shirt upsets me as a result of he signed it, ‘To Piers, a real Gooner. From Thierry, a Gooner for all times.’ After which he left for Barcelona!

I’ve an Ian Wright shirt, I even have an Arsene Wenger one. However I like the unique shirts the gamers have worn after which signed. I wish to have my heroes; the types, the style however the concept that your hero has worn these items and appeared for Arsenal, I don’t suppose you may get a extra symbiotic relationship with a membership.

Piers has a collection of Arsenal shirts which he holds dear

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Piers has a group of Arsenal shirts which he holds pricey

I’ve an image that could be very particular. After we gained the league within the Invincibles yr at White Hart Lane, I ended up within the boardroom with my dad and we had been the final ones left, everybody for Spurs had left clearly. And the doorways swung open and in got here Wenger and Pat Rice. I grabbed a bottle of wine and we set for an hour, having simply gained the league within the Invincibles season, towards Spurs, at White Hart Lane and we simply spoke soccer for an hour. That was particular. It was most likely the final time I spoke to Wenger, however it was particular!

My favorite Arsenal crew

The crew if it was the best gamers is one factor, however I’ve gone for a crew skewed to gamers I personally love. It’s not that completely different.

Learn extra on Piers’ picks for his all-time Arsenal XI right here.

This is Piers Morgan’s all-time Arsenal XI

That is Piers Morgan’s all-time Arsenal XI

Hear in full to Piers Morgan’s Arsenal reminiscences with Jonny Owen and Pals on talkSPORT from 9am-11am on Sunday





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