Why I love Arsenal and how I first ever heard of Arsene Wenger

Why didn’t they ask Glen Hoddle? by Snowden

Hello Lord Jon. Thank you for your compliments and encouragement. We shared some thoughts on the Mohamed Elneny article in the Players from Africa Series. I said that I don’t read the articles about transfers and players Arsenal should or shouldn’t buy. It did cross my mind then that it is easy to be negative, but what about being positive and writing something?

The problem was what? I read the piece on Kroenke and his ownership of American clubs and I thought maybe I could write about my understanding of ‘the hands off approach’ of the Arsenal Boardroom.

About my love of Arsenal
I was born at the northern end of Tower Hamlets. A 10-minute walk from Hackney Wick. My dad had no interest in sport. My mates would get the 236 bus from Hackney Wick to Leyton and to Brisbane Road and we cheered on the O’s. In the old Division 3. I still do cheer on the O’s. All this is now a fog memory. One day I got the 236 going in the other direction and at Highbury added my name to that great book of ‘Arsenal, Proud To Say That Name’. Looking back I think I was more impressed by the stadium then I was with the actual football.

One football season I did manage to escape the club’s iron grip on me. However, it was back to normal at the start of the next season which saw me patrolling my the High St looking for a shop with a teletext and the result of the game up north somewhere. Life returned to normal.

I despaired when at a game at some of the comments made by fellow Gooners especially the negative comments. We don’t know why we see what we see, so how can we have an opinion? I learnt to think ‘Long Term’. Like all fans I have my opinions, but they are only opinions based on limited knowledge.

My liking for history naturally includes all matters Arsenal. Not just at Arsenal but anywhere that might have even thinnest link to Arsenal I am interested in it. I look for Arsenal connections. Here’s probably my best find.

The date is 16 May 1987. The Cup Final day. Coventry v THFC (For the benefit of the unenlightened.) The Horrible Football Club. They lost. Hooray! Something was to happen after the game that for me didn’t make sense.

At the time there was no internet. In the English media it was hard to find news of Europe never mind football in the second grade football land of France.

In the quiet no football, cricket season, trailing his FA Cup losers medal THFC’s most skilful and loved player Glen Hoddle slinked off to France! And to play for Club de football Monaco! I knew Monaco had a Prince but a football club!

To my little brain this didn’t make sense and I was determined to find out why it made sense to Glen Hoddle.

So it was I came to know the name Arsene Wenger, King of Monaco FC and whether he knew it or not, for having nicked Glen Hoddle from THFC already an Arsenal fan as far as this Arsenal fan was concerned.

Fast forward. Bruce Rioch was shown the door marked ‘do one’ as they say and the Arsenal board with one exception (DD) were sleep walking again.

Then suddenly (as with all rumours) the media was full of ‘three candidates for the new manager of Arsenal and I saw the name Arsène Wenger.

The message of the stadium at Arsène Wenger last game was ‘Merci Arsene.’ And rightly so. I think that somewhere in that emotional-filled afternoon there should have been a word of appreciation to Glen Hoddle, for it was Glen Hoddle who knew Arsene Wenger first.

In answer to the media’s question ‘Arsène who?’ Glen knew and thanks to him – so do we.



  1. Excellent piece Snowden and you might even inspire me to write my own story of Arsenal and Me, through the years

  2. Arsene piece of beautiful footbal, oh ! I miss arsenal beautiful possesion footbal that i fell in love with. Even without major honours those entertainment were consolation. But now? All gone- no more tikitaka, no top 4, no major honour. I hope we are on the right track.
    OT: i hope admin could run a poll on what deal an individual fan would sanction if given our reported £45m budget and based on reported prices of linked targets.
    I think i will get 4-5players in

  3. OT: I see why Kev keeps talking about Ismael Bennacer, I read he was voted the best player in the group stages of the African nations cup and I also read that arsenal will get around €6milliom from his sales but what i really don’t understand is why we are not buying him back if he’s so good like they say, reminds me of cecs fabrigas transfer to Chelsea.

  4. I think everyone miss arsenal beautiful possession football, we had great midfielders who can execute it, Robert piers, Denis bergkamp,Patrick viera,Gilberto Silvia. Even when arsenal was not winning trophies in the last decade of arsene wenger unproductive tenure we still had technically gifted midfielders who can dazzle with the ball cecs fabrigas,Samir Nasri, Thomas rocisky,the little magician santi Carzola,those are players that will take your breath away with a moment of magic, all we have now is one talented but inconsistent and too lazy Ozil a poor elneny, a youngster who may turn out good or bad Guendouzi, an error prone Xhaka,an average iwobi.Ooh how I miss the good old arsenal.

    1. And Bruce Rioch signed Dennis Bergkamp, arguably the greatest player signing Arsenal ever made.
      However now it seems, although available, he can’t get near the Club.

  5. Nice article. I came to know and support arsenal through my fondness for David Seaman. That’s how I got stuck to Arsenal.

  6. I saw my first game on my dads lap around 1958. We played Man Utd and lost 5-4. What a game to get hooked by. My only sadness nowadays is we are 100% owned by Kroenke, and nobody at Arsenal admin level, except Sanllehi, knows anything about football. Even he doesn’t have Arsenal in his heart. Where are the true Gunners, with the Arsenal fire in their bellies? Where are the Tony Adams and Thierry Henry types on the field? I love the Arsenal but Kroenke et al are removing the fire from the soul of our club. Come on you Gunners.

  7. Nice one, Snowden! I really like reading about how people became gooners! Makes a nice change, once in a while on here! ?

  8. Snowden – and I should call you King for your writing ability, since I am a lord, it seems – you will quickly win much acclaim for your writing style and content. What a fascinating read, as others are also rightly saying on here. Do you remember your first actual game at Highbury, who we played against, players result etc? I believe I was at a 5-2 home game against Blackburn in the first game I properly remember; almost certain that score is correct but thanks to memory, at my age right now, we probably lost 0-4!

    What I personally miss, possibly most of all, is the magic of being young and worshipping players as kids do. Now, being a fully fledged miserable and cynical old git, I find it difficult to find all but the true greats, Dennis, Thierry, Patrick. etc as magical players or even as special people. But my passion for the club, as against mere individual players, shines as brightly as ever.
    Do keep writing though, you have a gift for it!

    1. We need to start the cynical old gits club, Jon. I think there are a lot of us.

  9. I always thought I was supporting Man I always heard how good they were, but my father always spoke good things about Arsenal. As I was growing I realise I actually dont support Man I really prefer supporting Arsenal and made it official. But Henry did win me over, as well as Fabregas and van Persie. Now I hate Man even more than Spuds.

  10. Terrific article and so well written.

    My own experience of first becoming a disciple was so long ago it has become a bit hazy. However when my son was around 8 or 9 I took him to Highbury for a match against Stoke. The look on his face when the players came on the pitch said it all. He is now 50 and still talks about it.

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