This evening's Highbury Memory comes from Mr Jackson from Henfield.
At the beginning of the 1947/48 season, I was 17 years-old, and that was when I became a regular supporter of the Arsenal, a passion that has now lasted for some 58 years.
As the seasons have rolled by, I have seen the Highbury stadium change in structure. Standing behind the goal in the North Bank on a Saturday afternoon became a priority over all things, and in due course, I was joined by my wife and later by my daughters.
Star players of opposing teams were recognised for their ability; looking back, Matthews, Finney, Shackleton, Charles, Charlton and Law have all been names to grace the Highbury grass. We always hoped that the Gunners would be as great one day. I remember Don Roper as an example, signed as a left-winger. He was moved to full-back to face Stanley Matthews. I'm sure the maestro never had a good day at Highbury!
What of Arsenal players that I have admired over the years? Jack Kelsey, Pat Jennings, Walley Barnes, Alex Forbes, Frank McLintock, Peter Simpson, Cliff Holton, Doug Lishman, Liam Brady, George Armstrong, and now Thierry Henry. The list could go on! In the time I have had the pleasure to watch Arsenal four players have had the most influence at the Club. Firstly, Joe Mercer, he was such a fine wing-half and a great captain. Secondly, George Eastham, an inside-forward who shone on umpteen occasions. Thirdly, Dennis Bergkamp, of whom very often, I have turned to my grandson, after another Bergkamp goal, and said, 'That was another Dennis master class'. And lastly, Mr Arsenal, Tony Adams. Captain Supreme, an excellent defender with an ability to control the game like nothing before. Remember Everton? Magic!
I know Arsenal must move on to Emirates and if we can't move brick and mortar, then we must take the passion and the spirit of the old stadium. As supporters of Arsenal, I am sure we all feel pride in being a part of a great Highbury tradition. We will look to Arsène Wenger and his assistants to continue to produce teams who play exciting football and build on the progress and achievements we have seen today.
Would you like your 'Highbury Memories' recorded in the programme this historic season? We'd love to hear of your experiences at Highbury, no matter how long you've supported the team. If you have a story you think is worth telling then write into the Club, keeping your accounts to less than 600 words, at the usual address. You can also e-mail your correspondence to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please mark your letters 'Highbury Memories'. All those who have letters printed will receive an exclusive A4 Highbury print.8 Mar 2006