By Joshua Boothroyd
On Tuesday, October 29 I attended the Capital One Cup game against Chelsea after I won a competition to shadow a policeman on a match day. This involved me and my Mum, along with another boy called Michael and his Mother following a policeman around to where he would normally go on a game day.
I was woken up on Wednesday, October 23 by my Mum, Katie, at around 6:30 am. I wondered why she was waking me up so early so I asked her. That’s when I got the good news. She read out the email saying ‘Congratulations! You have been randomly selected to shadow a Policeman on a match day and you've also won two tickets to the Capital One Cup match against Chelsea.
I was over the moon and I went to school that morning a very happy boy and all I could do was speak to my best mate Dan Dalwood about it who is also an Arsenal fan.
When the days final came, I got on the train at Woking, my red and white scarf waving in the wind and my beautiful Arsenal badge staring into mid-air. I took the 30-minute journey to Waterloo where my Mum shopped to waste a little bit of time as we were very early.
After the shopping, we took the Jubilee line to Green Park where we then got off again to go on the Piccadilly line straight to arsenal. We then got off the train feeling the breeze before walking out towards the Stadium where I had a photo with my stone in the ground next to the North Bank.
After checking out my engraved stone I then went to the Arsenal store and bought some gifts. I also got a postcard with a picture of Mesut Ozil. After buying some things in the Armoury, the only shop I’ve never come out empty-handed from, I then went to the south-west collection office where we collected our tickets for the big game.
After collecting the tickets I then went to Queensland Road where I had to ask three stewards where to go!
I finally got there and was invited to sit down on the sofas by the receptionist. This is where I met both the mascots and Michael. The mascots where called Jamie and Jessica and I spoke to both of them who said they were very excited. They also said it was their Dad’s dream!
I was shouting inside thinking ‘that was sensational’ and I couldn’t shut up all the way to our seats
After that our policeman who we were going to shadow entered the room and greeted us with a nice warm smile. After a quick Q&A session he told us it was time to start. I was extremely excited and really couldn’t wait for the tour.
For the first bit of the tour we found ourselves in a room of working policeman drinking cups of coffee! Only joking, they were all working very hard and trying to spot out any suspicious behaviour with their very advanced security cameras.
We then went to the the commander’s office. This is where we got told a few cool facts about the game and what sort of jobs the police have to do. We got told all about the amount of policeman on the segregation line and the number of officers who work on a match day, which on this occasion was 180!
Next to the commander's office was the St. Johns Ambulance office which we entered while they were being briefed about the game. As we exited this room the constable told us that there was 9,000 travelling Chelsea fans for the game. 5000 being in the lower tier and 4000 being the upper tier.
We then went outside and to where the Chelsea fans would later be sitting and had a photo next to the pitch before witnessing the stewards receiving their pre-match briefing.
After that, we went outside of the ground and saw both the Arsenal and the Chelsea coaches arrive into the ground.
Both the coaches were blacked-out but Michael and I grabbed a peek of Fernando Torres and waved to the Arsenal players as they drove round the roundabout outside the Armoury and towards Queensland Road. When we were outside the policeman told us about the coach system and what they have to do for the television companies.
For example, the Arsenal players have to sleep over at the hotel then have to arrive by coach just for the cameras.
We then walked back inside through the media entrance where we saw TV presenter Ben Shephard while having our bags checked. After that we walked through to the car park where we saw both sets of players and managers walk off the coaches. We shouted out all of the arsenal players names and it was really fun seeing them all especially Olivier Giroud - who had some trouble with his suitcase!
After waving them off the coach we went outside yet again to see the stunning police horses called went by the names of Huntsman, who was 17-years-old and London who was 12-years-old. We also stroked the Two out of the 18 horses on duty that night which was nice and they were really soft.
After meeting the lovely horses we then went to the police control room. The police control room was so cool and you could see it was full of people who knew what they were doing. In the control room I saw more security cameras of all around the stadium and saw everyone coming in. In the control room was the announcer in a small room. I had a photo with him and he was really funny.
He told Michael and myself to write our names down so he could announce them at half time.
After seeing the fascinating control room we walked down the stairs and into the player’s car park which felt like I was in another world. I saw all the player's cars and had a photo with Jack Wlshere’s, Mesut Özil's, Bacary Sagna’s and Laurent Koscielny’s to name a few.
There were Mercedes, Bentleys and Lamborginhis - it was amazing.
We shouted out all of the arsenal players names and it was really fun seeing them all especially Olivier Giroud - who had some trouble with his suitcase!
After that we went past the ‘guard of honour’ where I also saw Bez from the match of the day magazine. We walked towards the tunnel where on our way we saw Chelsea manager José Mourinho. We walked past him very excitedly before walking out of the tunnel where the players would later walk out onto the side of the pitch.
On the side of the pitch we had our photo taken with constable Delano by a photographer which was also really fun having loads of fans looking at me.
We then walked back the same way so we could go outside as it was now the end of the event but on our way back we saw Mourinho and Arsène Wenger having a chat –it was amazing,I’ve always wanted to see Wenger next to me and there he was.
I was shouting inside thinking ‘that was sensational’ and I couldn’t shut up all the way to our seats. We said goodbye to constable Delano and I thanked him a lot as he was really nice. We then sat down and got ready for the game.
Sadly, we lost the game 2-0 but it didn’t matter to me as I had an absolutely fantastic day, one of the best in my life - so thanks again Junior Gunners for making another dream of mine happen!Copyright 2013 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 4 Nov 2013