Hey Junior Gunners,
The new season is here! I hope you're all as excited as I am. Here's my latest blog!
With the start of the new season fast-approaching, I called into Meadow Park today to watch an Arsenal XI take on Boreham Wood in a friendly. The game was sold out so there was a good atmosphere there. The game also marked the official opening of their new stand, so Mr Wenger cut the ribbon in a special presentation. We won the match 2-0 and I got round to see some old faces in the crowd. Before that, in the morning, I had been along to the Sobell Leisure Centre for a community project for disabled sports. This is a brilliant event and one I have previously attended on an annual basis.
A few days later I took a break from football and tried my hand at cricket instead. The Lord's Taveners were holding an event in Regent’s Park so I popped down to meet everyone as well as show them my batting skills. The club's Meetings and Events Manager had assembled a team of Arsenal staff to take part, so I was there to cheer them on. Our team got as far as the semi-finals before eventually losing to the team who went on to win the competition. While I was there I also raised £100 for charity, so all in all it was a good day.
A fun day followed in King’s Square, N1, where I met lots of mums and dads with their children all having a good time. I finished the day in Upminster for a seven-year-old girl’s birthday party. I took along some goodies for the birthday girl and all of her friends. We all had a great time with lots of jelly and ice cream and cake.
I was at the Arsenal Ladies match today. It was a league fixture against Notts County which was being shown live on BT Sport. I got to Meadow Park early as before kick-off there was a Fans Festival with lots of activities for the children to get involved in. The FA and the Notts County mascots were there to join in the fun and later in the day we had a dance off. Unfortunately, I was the loser this time! I think I will have to improve in my dancing a little! Then I went inside the ground to meet the fans and watch the game which ended 1-1.
I went down to West Drayton today, near Heathrow Airport, to meet workers from the National Fostering Agency for a fun day that they had arranged for foster children and parents. I thought I was big but have you seen the size of some of those airplanes that were taking off and landing?! There were loads of activities for the boys and girls and I showed off my football and table tennis skills with some of the children. There was also face painting, a balloon artist, lots of food and a visit from the fire brigade in one of their fire engines. All the boys and girls were allowed to sit in this and press the siren. Oh yes and also an ice cream van. I really had a great time!
I had a request to surprise a young Arsenal fan today as she arrived for a tour of Emriates stadium with her mum and dad. I was told she was wearing a Santi Carzola shirt. Do you know how many fans have his name on their shirts? Hundreds! Anyway she had come all the way from Santa Fe, New Mexico in the USA. When she was pointed out to me I was ready with a big hug and lots of high fives. I gave her a few goodies to take home, she was so thrilled.
Some of you may know Highbury Fields, just up the road from the stadium. I visited for a community event where lots of local primary schools were taking part in a football tournament. It is always great to meet so many of our young supporters out on the footie pitch! August 2-3 The weekend had finally arrived. Our first pre-season games at Emirates stadium, in our annual Emirates Cup event. The four teams taking part this year were Valencia from Spain, Monaco from France, Benfica from Portugal and of course the mighty Arsenal. As there were two games each day I had a lot of time to visit all parts of the stadium as well as walking around the pitch. I greeted all the teams as they arrived so met loads of fantastic footballers from all around the world. The one who seemed to be the most popular was Falcao from Columbia. We won our first game 5-1 against Benfica but lost our second game 1-0 against Monaco. Congratulations to Valencia who were the overall winners of the tournament.
I always enjoy our annual Members Day event, as it gives me a chance to catch up with the whole of the first-team squad. Over 7,000 Arsenal fans came along to the stadium to watch the players train then later get a chance to meet them with some Q&A sessions. It was also a special day for our Junior Gunners as some of them got the chance to play on the pitch against the first team, and guess who they put in goal? Yes you’re right it was me. I let in two but am pleased to report that we won the game by scoring five. Later in the day I was asked to do an advert for Paddy Power, so keep an eye out on TV at home as you might see me.
Today we went back to Wembley for the Community Shield, playing against last season’s Premier League winners Manchester City. I met both of the City mascots before kick-off (yes they have two!), then headed pitch side to greet our fans. While I was there I ran into Ian Wright who was working for TV. We had a big cuddle. He loves Gunnersaurus! We won the game 3-0 with goals coming from Santi, Aaron and a screamer from Olivier. August 12 Today we took a group of around 500 Junior Gunners to Paradise Wildlife Park in Broxbourne. There were lots of activities for the youngsters to get involved in and the Arsenal Soccer Schools team were on hand to provide football coaching. Lots of little ones had their faces painted, created wonderful things in the arts and crafts area and enjoyed the zoo’s special shows. I had a walk around the park and met lots of great animals including meercats, lions, penguins, llamas and tarantulas.
It’s Saturday and it’s the first game of the new Premier League season. Our opponents are Crystal Palace and it’s the late game on Sky Sports. For most of the fans it will be the first time they see me wearing my new Puma kit. I met the lucky mascots and our Icelandic supporters club as we watched the two teams arrive at the stadium. Walking around the pitch before kick-off I met some old and new faces all after photographs. With the scores level at half time, it was time for something new. Three lucky youngsters were picked from the crowd to come onto the pitch a take a penalty each against me. The first boy sent me the wrong way, I dived right and he put it to the left. I was ready for the second and the lad hit his penalty with such force it took me back a bit. I did however manage to get my body behind it and make a save, much to the disappointment of the crowd who gave me a big boo! The third lad put his penalty away without me even making a move, right into the bottom corner. I can’t wait to do it all over again at our next home league game. Keep an eye open for Arsenal members of staff before the game who will be on the lookout for further contestants.
In the second half Aaron scored a late winner to give us all three points. After the final whistle I popped up to the Royal Oak suite to meet some very happy fans.
An away 0-0 draw in the Champions League with Bestikas means it's still all to play for in the second leg next week. I stopped at home and watched the game on TV. It was not a great pitch was it very bumpy. No Aaron in the second leg after his two yellow cards. Still we welcome back our three Germans following their extended World Cup break. Everton away on Saturday, will catch up with you all later.
Big hugs from Gunner