Wenger’s 1,000th game seems as good a moment as any to trawl my diaries for some Arsenal flavour, as it were. My earliest diary entry dates from 1 January 1963, and my first mention of Arsenal is a few weeks later, in February. Most of the mentions of Arsenal in my diaries are a simple scoreline, but a few come with more colour (sometimes a bit too much - see 11 November 1967).
23 February 1963
‘Went to the football match - Arsenal v Spurs. Spurs won 3-2. It was a very exciting game.’
17 April 1964
‘Got my Arsenal photograph from Typhoo Tea.’
22 January 1966
‘Arsenal were knocked out of the cup today. They’re useless.’
3 October 1967
‘Defended Arsenal with Mob.’
28 October 1967
‘Arsenal-Fulham. Pouring down with rain, horrible and cold. Exciting match 5-3.’
11 November 1967
‘Lunch of steak then rushed off to Arsenal along A10. Driver would not let Father pass so he said he would carve him up. Mother said don’t, then started shrieking, opened car door. At Arsenal said she couldn’t come. I rushed off [to stands, my parents had season tickets], got a good view point, great match. Mother still there. Arsenal 2 Everton 2.’
20 January 1973
‘Arsenal fluked a noble victory against Chelsea.’
12 March 1974
‘About 6:30 tubed up to Arsenal v Barcelona, 35,000, 1-3, Georgie’s testimonial, fair old game basically. Johan Cruyff really fabulous.’
7 December 2004
‘I reckon that I’ve not been to the Arsenal in 30 years, not since I was a teenager. It was busy on the train and at Highbury & Islington station but not football crowd busy. There were, though, enough supporters heading for Arsenal for us to be able to follow them. We ended up arriving on the east side of the stadium, which meant we had to walk all the way round, and through the throngs, to the other side - to Highbury Hill in fact (where the entrance to the West side is right next door to where my old friend, Angela used to live).
What’s the point of football? It’s surprising to experience how many people come to watch football. Passing through the crowds, I couldn’t help thinking again about how few people, by comparison, go to watch live theatre or music. There can be a bit of a crush outside a theatre, before and after, but it’s a miniature crowd compared to that of a football match. It’s mostly men, of course, but there are still plenty of women, often not very visible because they are togged up in warm jackets and hats similar to those worn by their men.