JG’s step into the spotlight before Barca!

In an historic night for Arsenal against FC Barcelona in the first leg of the Champions League knockout stages, 22 Junior Gunner competition winners were lucky enough to be a part of the breathtaking action!

As red and white lights swept through the night sky high above Emirates Stadium, the roars rang loudly as our lucky Player Escorts assembled excitedly in the tunnel for the night of their lives.

Smartly dressed in their special UEFA player escort uniforms and seemingly unfazed by the enormity of the occasion they ran through last minute rehearsals of standing tall, shoulders back with BIG smiles whilst laces were hastily tied, shirts tucked in and socks pulled up.

Their infectious enthusiasm managed to even break through the rising tension in the air, as an unexpected early appearance from Mr. Wenger in the tunnel brought gasps of delight from the children and led to a series of impromptu High 5's down the line with the man himself!!!

However, when the big moment finally arrived and the two great teams emerged from their dressing rooms an excited hush filled the air and small hands were shyly offered out to their heroes.

And then, after all the waiting... they were off! Fans and heroes now hand-in-hand, they walked proudly up the tunnel to be surrounded by cheers in the deafening wall of sound. As they lined up proudly on the field, thousands and thousands of red and white flags waved all around the stadium and the BIG smiles etched all over their faces could be seen from the highest seat. For these Junior Gunners it was a dream end to a magical night.

Junior Gunner Joshua Simpkins, aged 9, described it as the "best day" of his life commenting: "I was so proud to have been chosen as a Player Escort! My legs were shaking with fright and excitement as I stood on the pitch, but yesterday was the best day of my life and wow, what a game and what a result!

Fellow JG Matthew Peter, aged 8, was even interviewed by BBC Radio 5 Live after walking out of the tunnel with Barcelona's World Cup winner, Andres Iniesta. Click here to listen to his interview.

Not yet a Junior Gunner? Join now and next time this could be you!

 Junior Gunners have many chances to win once-in-a-lifetime experiences like this throughout the season. What's more you can now enjoy a special 25% discount, joining for just £15, and next time it could be you waking hand-in-hand with your heroes! Plus, you also get your very own membership pack, exclusive ticket concessions and chances to be invited to some fantastic events with lots more still to come this season!

Join now at any official Arsenal retail store or by clicking here.

18 Feb 2011