A Blog by International Students at Leiden University
Coming from a cricket mad nation football was a sport which was alien to me but ever since I watched the silky Dutch man Bergkamp in the Red and White of the Gunners I have been in love with the club called as Arsenal. This was a good 13 years back in faraway India that my obsession with Arsenal began.
When I recently visited London my first priority, heads and shoulders above all, was to visit the Emirates Stadium, the home of Arsenal Football club.After getting down at the Arsenal metro station a short walk took me to the home of the gunners. I literally did have goosebumps when I saw the Emirates stadium for the first time. After 2 nights without much sleep I could barely move but the view of the stadium gave me an adrenalin rush which provided me with an enormous boost of energy!
I was looking forward to the legends tour taken by Charlie George but unfortunately there were no legends available for that day, so I went on a conventional solo tour. You are given an iPhone like device with a pair of headphones where everything is well, self-explanatory.
The first leg of the tour took me past the Director’s box. This offers a panoramic view of the entire football field. But I was told that one ticket at this place would set you back by thousands of pounds, and most of them would be given out only by invitation. After just absorbing the amazing atmosphere of the Director’s box, I made my way to the Diamond club. From there I went to the place where incredible moments from Arsenal’s illustrious history were captured, this includes an Arsenal time capsule place on 2004 and an image of Michael Thomas scoring the last minute goal which won the league for Arsenal in ’89. Following this I went to the dressing room of the players which qualifies as one of the most advanced in the world. Its squeaky clean, very spacious and it has an amazing Jacuzzi as well! This is the place where all the players can chill out after a really long game of Football.
Following this I went to the dugout area of the club, which was simply fantastic! As I stood there for about 20 minutes all the great matches which have been played here flashed through my mind, I could also find well made banners all over the stadium which depicted the important moments in the club’s history. Such as say, winning the 2003-04 premier league title by going the whole season unbeaten. Following the the time spent at the dugout I had one more visit to the interview room and then got out of the stadium.
After taking some obligatory photos with the statues of a couple of Arsenal legends outside I moved to the Arsenal museum , this was probably the best part of the tour. This was a mecca for all Arsenal fans, for it had some of the most amazing memorabilia from Arsenal’s long cherished history such as equipments used by the legendary Chapman team from the 1930’s and double trophies of the 1971 season. But the best of the lot was the golden trophy awarded to Arsenal at the end of the 2004 season. I also happened to notice the shoes worn by Bergkamp on his testimonial match, which to any gooner is pure gold. At 20 pounds for the entire tour, including the museum, this was one tour which was truly worth every penny!