The Arsenal Scotland Supporters Club hosts a very special event in Burntisland, Fife on July 23.
A blue plaque will be unveiled at the birthplace of David Danskin, a founding member of Arsenal in 1886 and the Club's first captain. Danskin's grandson is travelling over from Canada for the event and Bob Wilson, Honorary President of Arsenal Scotland Supporters Club, will also be in attendance.
With Supporters Club Week in full flow on Arsenal.com, we spoke to Fraser MacKenzie, Club Secretary of Arsenal Scotland Supporters Club, to find out more about this historic event.
Fraser, tell us how the idea came about?
Our chairman, Martin O'Donnell, took it upon himself to do it because of David Danskin's Scottish background. He got some information on Danskin and found out that he was born just over the bridge from us. We have members all over Scotland and we thought we'd go for it. We went through [Supporters Liaison Officer] Jill Smith to get permission to use the Arsenal crest. We wanted to show from our own point of view that there are Arsenal roots in Scotland and being Scottish makes us proud.
Who has helped put this event together?
Jill Smith has been a huge help at Arsenal and our Chairman Martin O'Donnell has been very influential. I am the main contact with Arsenal so information has been forwarded on to me but Martin has been phenomenal. He has been in touch with Sky Sports, local newspapers, he has invited local schools along and the local council are sending representatives too. We are very grateful to Bob Wilson as well for coming up and making it a really special day. David Danskin's grandson, who lives in Canada, is flying over specially for the event. We told him what we were doing and he thinks it's amazing so he decided to come over with his wife. We'll be delighted to see him.
How many people do you expect to attend?
We're hoping for more than 100 of the people we have invited and hopefully we'll get some television coverage too.
Why is Bob Wilson the Arsenal Scotland Honorary President?
We considered a few Scottish Arsenal players such as Charlie Nicholas, Frank McLintock and Peter Marinello. Then Bob Wilson was suggested because Martin had been reading his book in which Bob had spoken very highly of the time he played for Scotland. He said he was very proud to play for Scotland. Bob was goalkeeping coach at the time and we thought it would be easier to go through Arsenal and ask him. We could not have made a better choice, he is such a good man. We met him at the Fulham game last season when we presented Bob with a cheque for The Willow Foundation and he made us so welcome. We met Thierry Henry in the players tunnel too but, as much as it was a dream come true to meet Thierry, the highlight of my day was meeting Bob.
Why is Arsenal your club?
When I was a child I was always dressed in red so when I was seven and I was bought my first football top, it was always going to be red. It could have been Manchester United, Liverpool, Middlesbrough or Sunderland but it just so happened my mum bought me an Arsenal top. I remember wearing it while watching Dickie Davies on World Of Sport and waiting for the results to come through on the videprinter.
How often do you get to Arsenal games?
We always have members in attendance at all Arsenal games in England and nine out of 10 European games. I probably average one home game a month but we have coach trips to games in the north of England like Liverpool, Wigan, Newcastle and Middlesbrough. We organised two very successful trips to the Emirates last season - we had 54 members at the Newcastle game and 61 at the Fulham game. We have to say a massive thanks to Jill Smith for helping us get group tickets for those games. All the Supporters Clubs say the same thing: Jill is an amazing person to deal with.
What are your thoughts on Arsenal's prospects this season?
This young team will be amazing if we can keep them together. Now is the time for people like Cesc Fabregas to stand up and be counted. I think Henry going was the right move, I don't think the team played as well as they can even when he was fit last season. There are young guys like Fabregas, Denilson, Emmanuel Adebayor and Robin van Persie who can thrive now. Henry was amazing for Arsenal but I think we saw the best of him. I think we'll finish in the top four comfortably and win a cup. Spurs and Newcastle won't finish above Arsenal. I have every faith in Arsène Wenger and, although I don't think Arsenal will win the league this season, if we keep this group of players together they will win it in a couple of years.
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