Sorry Mum! – Memories of my first Arsenal game at Highbury

“Sorry mum!” by Snowden

Hi Lord Jon and all the JustArsenal family…

Again, thanks for your compliments but I am not a writer. I just wrote about myself that’s all.
I don’t remember much about my first Arsenal game. The game itself that is. My memory insists that the away team were in the blue we associate with Chelski, but it could have been Neverton. (editor please do not edit ‘Neverton’. Thank you.)

I went to my first Arsenal game armed only with the knowledge of going to the Orient. Getting to the O’s and getting home took less than an hour each way so being home by 6 was possible. My parents wouldn’t have known that their little wanderer was off on his wandering again.

I now know it was the Clock End my feet found. I didn’t want to be pushed down the steps to the front where all the other kids were and separated from the pitch by a wall. My head only just got above the wall. The supporter side being lower than the pitch. Seeing the game and collecting a memory or two wasn’t going to happen.

When the game was over it seemed to me to take ages to follow behind the adults as they stepped up the incline to the top and then back down and eventually into the street.

I have this memory of all the people heading in the direction of the 236 bus and being horrified as I thinking I am never going to be home before ‘slipper time’. (Editor please don’t edit that. It is what I meant it not a typo as ‘forward Arsenal was not a typo. That was a reference to Bernard Joy’s book ‘Forward Arsenal’. I have written ‘slipper time’ and that is what I mean – thank you)

I think we lost the game. I think that, because I don’t recall the sensations, the happiness and sense of elite of that the big air balloon that would swell over Highbury after a win and follow us home.

I don’t recall my rear end having a visit from ‘the slipper’ for being late on arriving home, but doubtless I had some explaining to do. I know that I was allowed out for an extra half hour if was going to Arsenal. I wasn’t allowed to go to midweek games.

Despite everything, I was Arsenal hooked.

As to the cloud of ‘slipper time’ powering my thinking. This was of my own doing, only I wasn’t to realise this/understand this at the time.

I was 6 and it was summer, my mum took me and a friend’s daughter of about the same age as me out for the day to Hyde Park. Mum dozing the heat of the sun (editor: please don’t edit the ‘dozing the heat of the sun’ it is intentional – not a typo.) and seeing an ice cream man I Ieft her in favour of the ice cream. Needless to say, with no money I didn’t get an ice cream. I arrived back at where I thought I had left my mum and found myself in the state of no ice cream – no money – no mummy. With nothing else to do I went home.

It seems I arrived home about 3 hours later. You can imagine the scenario and reception I received.

When eventually I was allowed to go short distances from home by myself, I was always given a time to be home by, and a meeting with ‘slipper time’ if I arrived home after the agreed time. Had I known what to expect when going to Arsenal I am sure I would have asked for more time and I think it would have been given. It was parental concern that I had to learn to respect and of course I now understand. Sorry Mum and Dad.



  1. gotanidea says:

    Thanks for sharing your experience. What is the date, if you can remember it?

    1. snowden says:

      Hello gotanidea Early sixties. Not explained in ‘Why didn’t they ask Glen? Is that the boys I went to the O’s with were older than me.

      When the O’s game was over, you climbed a wall ( or in my case given a leg up.) and jumped down into the street and you were on the way home. I had no reason to believe it would be different at Arsenal.

      The slow shuffle up the slope began the panic in my mind. Despite the panic, I think it was the size of the Stadium and massive crowd that hooked me.

      The football you saw (when I got to actually see a game) was faster and for me more exciting. I was on my own which meant I didn’t have a big kid telling me what to do.

  2. Sean Williams says:

    Bloody hell Smowden. You’ve brought memories. Good memories. It reminds me of when I lived just of Blackstock Road in a tower block (I’m still close enough). Oh how I loved Highbury. Eventually me and my dad got a season ticket in the West Stand Upper. It was criminal to pull that beautiful Art Deco ground down. What wonderful football Adams and co and then those invincibles played. Heart and soul football. Now Satan Kroenke has robbed all our young supporters of what they deserve…their birthright…. ARSENAL. He has stolen the ‘fire’ from the gunners cannon. What has Satan Kroenke done to this club?

    1. Sean williams says:

      Of course the building is still there, but the Arsenal Shamanistic Spirits didn’t move across to the Emirates. Maybe we need to have an official ceremony to get them back.

      1. Declan says:

        My dad and me had regular tickets in the upper west stand front row, north bank end in line with penalty spot. We knew someone on the staff at Highbury who got us the same seats every game for a few years before we eventually got season tickets nearer the halfway line but I really miss that view at the north bank end. Where was your seat Sean?

        1. Sean Williams says:

          Do you know I can’t exactly remember. Central but quite a few rows back. It was such a long time ago. A memory that comes back is that Ray Davies of the Kinks sat quite close to us and was with a girlfriend at the time. Also when we beat the Spuds at White Hart Lane to win the League Ray Davies was queuing up for tickets

  3. ArseOverTit says:

    Ahhhh…A bye gone age!

    Nice article!

  4. ken1945 says:

    What a great story…another gooner called to the fold for no apparent reason!!!

    I was a North Bank boy, although my season ticket is now at the clock end.
    I was lucky enough to have had seats in the west and east stands as well…and my favourite was the east end just above where the players came out at Highbury.

    Keep hold of those memories Snowden, it’s what makes us different from the “normal” football fan!!!!

  5. Kenny Rolfe says:

    I was an original North Bank boy. Chanting in English football started when Liverpool came up from the old Second Division along with, would you believe it, Leyton Orient for the 1962/63 season. We played Liverpool in the FA Cup 5th round later that year at Highbury and they beat us 2-1. However the most significant thing about that game was that for the first time at Highbury, football chanting from the Liverpool fans could be heard from, as it was called in those days, “The Laundry End” later “The North Bank”. To us youngsters it was fantastic, real atmosphere, a complete change to the usual round of applause. After that obviously every team followed Liverpool’s example and began forming their own firms. The Arsenal North BAnk started at the front behind the goal and gradually got bigger moving backwards up the terrace. In 1966/67 Glasgow Rangers came down for a pre season friendly and got behind the Arsenal firm and caused a riot. It was following this that the Arsenal firm then moved to the back and occupied the complete area underneath the roof. The term North Bank came about around 1967, infiltrated only a few times over the years and usually by West Ham and by the early eighties was extremely prominent.Unfortunately, and I’m not blaming Liverpool fans, but this territorial thing eventually led to hooliganism which has been the scourge of English football ever since.

    1. Kenny Rolfe says:

      For more information Chanting started in Ireland in the very early sixties with the Irish sectarian songs and quickly moved to Liverpool and Glasgow where it was adopted by Rangers, Celtic, Liverpool and Everton. If anyone want’s know more about the beginnings of chanting or hooliganism don’t hesitate to ask

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