As part of the Club’s celebrations to mark its 125th anniversary, July saw the launch of ‘The 125 Project’, which was developed in collaboration with our partner, Nike.
‘The 125 Project’ became an evolving collection of unique Arsenal stories submitted by players, staff, celebrities including Spike Lee and, most importantly, our supporters. There was an overwhelming response to the project, with 1250 stories uploaded from around the world, with the microsite sitting on the Club’s facebook site receiving 45,000 unique visitors and 112,000 page impressions since its inception.
Among those memories uploaded were personal stories of supporters’ first glimpses of the Gunners, tales of sheer joy when the team of 2003/04 finished the domestic season unbeaten, and even of the extraordinary lengths some fans went to in order to attend a game.
The best stories were selected by our Facebook followers, and have now been installed onto some of the benches by the Spirit of Highbury team picture above The Armoury Store. A snapshot of those stories is below, with inclusions from Pakistan, New York and closer to home, Lewisham in South London.
2003/04 was the season Arsenal made history by going 49 games without a defeat.
I can still remember how, as the season swept on, pride turned to disbelief, to hope, to amazement, to pure joy. I felt like every Arsenal fan in London was one of my mates. You walked taller because you were a Gooner and you were part of something special. It was one of the greatest times of my life.
We became the Invincibles that season, and whatever highs and lows come, my faith in the world’s best football team hasn’t wavered since then.
- Amy Gould
Two German Girls in New York...
I moved to New York City in August 1999, and I knew I was entering Baseball Country.
Bergkamp was my hero, Wenger had just brought in this kid Thierry Henry and I was curious how he would do.
Nobody here cared about football - hell, they called it soccer!! There was only one bar (an Irish pub) in the whole city where you could watch a game. One morning I went to an old German bakery on the Upper East Side, wearing my precious Gunners shirt.
The young woman behind the counter took my order, looked up and said with a big smile : " Nice shirt."
Then she proceeded to lift her apron - and revealed a Tottenham shirt. It was hysterical.
Two German girls, in New York City, wearing the shirts of two of the fiercest English Premier League rivals.
Football had finally come to America.
- Cora Bauer
Here in Pakistan, the Champions League matches air somewhere around midnight or later. So when I was in school my parents wouldn't allow me to watch any matches, since I would have school the day after. But I used to get out of bed when everyone was asleep, pick up a chair, put it inches in front of the TV and plug in my earphones, so no one would hear me watching the TV.
I remember once, Thierry Henry scored at Highbury against Real Madrid which made me jump with joy, but that also pulled the earphone cord out of the TV, which led to the cheers of the fans echoing all through my house.
Long story short, I got grounded for a month, but it was one of the most memorable nights of my life. Glory Glory Gunners, Glory Glory Arsenal!
- Mohammad Syed
Jens, oh Jens
It was around 5am here in Manila, Philippines. As the sun was slowly rising, I forced my eyelids open to endure a goalless match between The Gunners and Villarreal. It was the Champions League Semi Finals 2nd Leg and we were up 1-0 in aggregate. Just when I thought that Arsenal had secured another victory, Clichy manages to bring down a Villarreal forward inside the box and the ref points to the spot for a penalty in the final minutes of stoppage time. Anger, shock, disbelief, and hope. Riquelme steps up and takes the penalty.
We’re on our way to Paris.
- Dijo Songco
The Club and its partner Nike would like to thank everyone that took the time to submit a story, and hope the lasting legacy of the project stands as a testament to the amazing support shown by our fans over the years.
Supporters can take a look at the messages and ‘The 125 Project’ by going to www.facebook.com/arsenal, where they can select ‘The 125 Project’ tab and follow the simple instructions, or read the stories in person in situ above The Armoury Store at the south west corner of the ground.Copyright 2016 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