JGs take the Britannia Stadium by storm
JGs in the crowd at the Britannia Stadium
Last Sunday 90 fanatical Young Guns followed the team on the long trip north to the Britannia Stadium for our Premier League encounter with Stoke City.
Even though the result wasn't what everyone had hoped for, it was still a fun-filled day for all as our young fans were even treated to the surprise of meeting the manager himself, Mr Wenger, and here's what JG Nick Wilson had to say about it.
"Immediately upon arriving at the Emirates Stadium early on a crisp Sunday morning, I knew it was going to be a day to remember - when the coaches lined up, jam-packed with Arsenal fans set off for Stoke at 8am they were buzzing with anticipation. Time flew by as I chatted with other Junior Gunners as well as some of the adults with the club.
After a quick rest-stop, we were given Arsenal caps and soon we had arrived in Stoke-on-Trent and were at the Britannia Stadium - trust me when I say it's a lot smaller than the Emirates! We took our seats at midday, which gave us time to get to know one another and even though most of us hadn't met before, we got on extremely well. The highlight of the day was definitely when Jens Lehmann, the ‘Invincibles' goalkeeper and Arsène Wenger, our most successful manager ever came out to sign our shirts, programmes and caps!
The match itself started shortly after 2pm There was a great atmosphere in the stadium, with both sets of fans singing all game - Arsenal took the early initiative, having all of the possession and chances with Aaron Ramsey displaying formidable mental strength to compose himself on his return to the site of his horror-injury last season. Out of the blue, Stoke scored a sucker-punch of a goal from a poorly defended Jermaine Pennant free-kick which Kenwyne Jones bundled in. Stoke quickly doubled their lead with a deflected shot from Pennant himself which Wojciech Szczesny in goal could do nothing about; Stoke's ‘Route 1' tactics highlighted Arsenal's deficiency in aerial prowess. Needless to say, when halftime came many fans were in shock, and the players were jaded leaving the pitch - we knew Stoke was a hard place to get a result at, but surely not this hard.
The second half saw a totally revitalised Arsenal. After Nicklas Bendtner and Marouane Chamakh came on to help Robin Van Persie up front and provide some much needed height, Arsenal looked a different team and after a few efforts came close, Van Persie halved the deficit to make it 2-1 with an excellent finish on his weaker foot. Unfortunately, yet more lacklustre Arsenal defending meant that Jon Walters had an easy finish to make it 3-1 and kill the game off - whilst Arsenal had the momentum before this, you could still sense it was coming after such a dismal first half.
On the coach back to the Emirates, everyone was understandably sombre, but the staff lifted our spirits by running some quizzes and the cameramen from Arsenal TV conducted interviews with me and some other lucky Young Guns, which in itself was fantastic. Overall, despite the bitterly disappointing result I think everyone enjoyed the experience and found it a memorable day - thank you Arsenal Football Club and I look forward to more Young Guns event in the future!"
Thank you Nick for your write up, we're glad to hear you had a great day.
Junior Gunners get the opportunity to be part of fantastic events right throughout the season. So, if you'd like the chance to be involved in future events become a Junior Gunner for Season 2011/2012.
Click here for information on how you can become a member next season.
Watch our video feature of the JGs' trip tp Britannia Stadium