To Go Out With a Gooner: The Girlfriend’s Perspective (Valentine’s Special)Posted: February 13, 2013
It was the run up to Valentine’s day 2012. I had been planning a nice dinner somewhere, doing my research on good deals. What I didn’t know was that he was also doing his research on good deals – the cheapest way to get to Milan, with the boys. After the initial argument, I asked if I could come – if we could share a room, I could go exploring while they go to a pub (by going to a pub I mean : them standing outside, shouting whilst spilling beer all over themselves). He laughed.
Tell me, did Arsenal lose 4 -0 to AC Milan on 15 February 2012? F*cking serves you right.
It has been over two years since we first got together, and two years since one of his friends first warned me about him being “a massive gooner”. Back then I had no idea what a gooner was, did that mean he hit women? Oh right, he supports Arsenal. OH right, he REALLY supports Arsenal, has a season ticket and will spend most weekends going back to London to watch them.
Very quickly I realised that if this was going anywhere (and I really wanted it to) I was going to have to share my boyfriend with a football team. In the first few months, I made a huge effort; I listened in to boys conversations about football, watched Sky Sports News wiith them, read up on the BBC football page, and very soon I was able to start impressing people with my knowledge.. Turns out the stereotype that girls know nothing about football is so strong that I could impress by just saying I knew where Robin Van Persie came from. Finally he uttered those sweet words, Would you come to the Emirates with me?
For a new Gooner Girlfriend, this is an honour (in their eyes), but also a test. Having only been to Easter Road to watch Hibs v Dunfermline, I could have done with few pointers on how to play it. Here are a few things I have learnt when at the Emirates.
1. Dress warmly, god knows why they put the football season in winter but they do.
2. Have a few drinks before – you are more likely to get involved and keep yourself entertained (too many and you’ll need to wee the whole way through the match (see 4) and apparently be annoying (see 2&3).
2. Don’t sing a long too loudly because apparently it’ is quite cringe.
3. Don’t look at and/or touch your man if Arsenal are losing, apparently they need their space.
4. Respect the people sitting next to them, they are paying a lot to be there every week so you needing to go to the loo half way through the first half will apparently (did) piss them off.
5. Know a bit about the team they are playing (West Ham is apparently not West Hampstead).
6. Don’t say “it ‘s not that bad”. (It apparently is that bad: A draw can be as bad as a defeat).
7. Find out a bit about the players. eg. Wojciech is both fit and hilarious to watch.
8. And finally – Do not blame yourself if they lose, you are not the bad luck.
I now bring you to August 2011 – He and I were at our most rocky – he was being horribly moody, ignoring me, then, in turn, I ignored him. We hadn’t spoken for a week. I was listening to the news and it said something about Fabregas moving to Barcelona. This whole fight had been about Cesc. Unfortunately a pattern has emerged; When things are good with Arsenal- they are really really good with us. When things at Arsenal are bad things can get messy. I guess I should be thankful that unlike Arsenal we aren’t in a 7 year drought.
There’s something about the Arsenal, something about the fandom that sucks you in. It’s not glory hunting because they aren’t really winning. And it’s no longer to impress my boyfriend because we are way past that honeymoon stage. It’s been two years and I think I’m ready to make the upgrade from “gooner girlfriend” to “gooner”.
And if the worst happens and we break up? There’s a very good looking guy sitting two rows in front.