As Arsenal celebrated its 125th anniversary, we sought the views of the people who made the Club what it is today – namely the fans, players and staff. We asked the simple question, 'What does Arsenal mean to you?’ to a variety of supporters, players (current and former, including some sadly no longer with us) and prominent members of the management and backroom team.

See the fans' responses below.

“I remember my dad taking me and my brother to our first Arsenal game when I was 11. A midweek, rainy cold night. We beat Nottingham Forest 1-0, with Chris Kiwomya scoring the only goal. Not exactly Spurs at the Lane on a title winning sunny day, but I loved every minute of it!”
Scott Shelford

“I was born in Arsenal's first double-winning year, so I like to think God had His eye on both of us in 1971! I honestly can't recall a time when I wasn't a Gunners fan. My allegiance seems to have been instinctive! To me, Arsenal will always be about competing and winning with dignity and style. Thank you Arsenal for all the memories and the lessons in life, over the last four decades.”
Colin McKibben

“I first went to Arsenal as nine-year-old and watched them lose 5-4 to Manchester United. The tragic Munich Air Disaster the following week ensured a mass of sympathy for the northern side but I had to stay with The Arsenal and waited for 12 years before they won a trophy. During those years I read everything written about the greatest club in the world and they are a driving force in my life.”
Neal Wilkins

“It’s about virtues not passports! We are proud to be Arsenal supporters!”
Els and Franklin Lejune

“I’m 14, May 12, 1979, Peter Shilton had retrieved my postcard from the mountain of entries, I’d won Match of the Day’s Goal of the Season competition, the £300 Premium Bond prize giving me the rush a goalscorer gets. Immediately I ask my gran and uncle to calm their celebrations and focus, the biggest game of my life would soon begin. Two nil up, five minutes remain, 85 minutes of nervous hell safely negotiated... whole school watching... Bang, bang, two apiece, my blood runs cold, I feel sick, worst day of my life? Liam Brady, Graham Rix, Alan Sunderland! I’m alive, I WANT to go to school, surreal.”
Simon Jones

“Arsenal means family. My brother, sister and mum have supported Arsenal for many years. We can’t have a conversation without mentioning Arsenal. There’s nothing like taking my son Ryan to the Emirates to watch the Arsenal. This 125th year experience today will mean so much to me and my family because my son Ryan will be waving one of the flags around the centre circle. Thank you Arsenal. Congratulations and here’s to another successful 125 years!”
Alison Crowley

“I will never forget the moment when I first witnessed Highbury, walking in to block 30 against Norwich on my seventh birthday on April 2, 2005! We’re the Clock End!”
Harrison Singha

“I’m proud to be a fan of a club that upholds the traditions of the beautiful game. Arsenal is where I meet my friends and we share the emotions of victory and defeat. The evocative atmosphere on match day, with its distinctive sights, sounds and smells means I’ve arrived at my football home. For the next 90 minutes nothing else matters and thanks to the Club’s excellent commentators and my friend, Ron, I temporarily forget that I am blind – Arsenal means that much.”
Allan Mabert

“It was 1961 and I was walking down Seven Sister’s Road on my dad’s shoulders. I asked him why people were celebrating and he said ‘don’t worry about that son, I’ll take you to see some proper football next year.’ So the next season I went to my first Arsenal game, and the Club has been my life ever since – I’ve been a season ticket holder as long as I can remember. Now – exactly 50 years after first standing on the Clock End – my son plays for the team. It’s unbelievable. It’s a dream come true for both Carl and myself, I can’t tell you how proud I am of him.”
Steve Jenkinson

“It’s the one place I truly feel safe; the only place I would want to be on a match day. After watching Arsenal home and away for a several years, I still get the pre-match nerves the night before a game and feel like a kid on Christmas Day on the morning of each game. The Club means more than the world to me.”
Akhil Vyas

“What does The Arsenal mean to me? Well let’s put it this way: when I first met the love of my life, the lovely Linda, 13 years ago, I told her quite seriously: “Look, I support The Arsenal. Now what that means is, I will go to all the home games, a few away games and, if the game is live on the box, I will be watching. That means I will miss any weddings, funerals, Bar Mitzvahs or other function that conflicts with a game the Arsenal are involved in. Other than that, I’m totally yours. P.S. Lucky she didn’t know I was going to have an Arsenal shrine in the spare room.”
Keith Dover

“Arsenal means the world to me, why? Because through the Arsenal Magazine (pen pals section) some 14 years ago, I eventually met my wife. From myself through to my wife and kids, we live and breathe Arsenal Football Club!”
Mornay Visser

“To me Arsenal means family and home, sorrow and joy. From my first visit as a wide eyed four year-old gripping my late father’s hand tightly, through taking my younger brother with us, right down to myself being the father with a young wide-eyed child gripping tightly. The sadness of scattering my father’s ashes at Highbury mixed with the joy of Bobby Pires slotting right in front of him next game. And all the amazing friends I’ve made. Arsenal is my home. Arsenal is my family.”
Lucas Pinks

“It means listening in awe to my dad in the ‘50s talking about Alex James, Cliff Bastin and Joe Hulme of the ‘30s. It means 60 years ago starting a lifelong affair with Arsenal continuing through our sons and grandsons. It means, when we score, hugging anyone near me as if we are lovers. It means meeting friends on match days, knowing that virtually no other occasion matches the euphoria and buzz of attending an Arsenal match, and if we win, having that warm glow of satisfaction for days afterwards. Arsenal means – well almost everything.”
Anthony Miller

“Arsenal is a 1-0 win at Tottenham on a ‘70s Monday night; It’s being at Anfield in ‘89 and not giving up the fight. Arsenal is winning the ‘double’ at Old Trafford in 2002; It’s Alan Sunderland’s famous goal to win the Cup 3-2. Arsenal is the Invincibles finishing top in 2004; It’s seeing Charlie George lying on Wembley’s floor. Arsenal is the class of Henry, Brady, Bastin and Wright; It’s Highbury or the Emirates on another European night. Arsenal is the spirit of Adams, Chapman, Armstrong and Drake; It’s Wenger and Van Persie’s boys leaving others in their wake.”
Mike Haines

“As an Arsenal supporter for 40 years I’ve seen a lot of changes at the Club – all of them good, and here’s to another 40 good years.”
Ian Taylor

“Growing up in a family full of Arsenal fans was the best thing that ever happened to me and now Arsenal is a massive part of my life. My kids won’t have a choice either!”
Marcos Marcos

“Arsenal is the reason that I live the way I do. This club is not just a football club. It is a way of living.”
Kristoffer Gronning

“Arsenal blends football and friendship and that’s unique. In Nigeria, Arsenal fans see each other as friends. I got my first job because I was wearing an Arsenal jersey. To me, Arsenal transcend racial discrimination, it’s about uniting people and making them see each other as one.”
Obinna Eziefule

“Tony Adams’ goal against Everton in 1998 was the moment that gave me the most joy. A beautiful sunny afternoon at Highbury and we were already three up when Steve Bould chipped a beautiful through ball behind the Everton defence into the path of our captain. He chested it down and struck a left foot half volley into the bottom corner. He then turned with his arms outstretched and awaited the acclaim of his team mates while 38,000 fans in the stadium and millions more at home laughed and thought ‘blimey, things have changed round here’. Unforgettable.”
Ian Stone

“I came to London from Bangladesh in 1990 and lived very close to the old Highbury Stadium. I still remember the supporters passing our road and listening to the sounds after every Arsenal goal. I missed many hours of my study to watch Arsenal play at Highbury. Arsenal became part of my life.”
Mir Saadi

“As a 12 year-old, and the proud owner of a pair of Alan Ball white boots myself, I recall seeing the pocket genius score with a left-foot shot against Man United at Highbury after about 13 seconds. I think we won 3-1 but my journey as a fan was truly started that day.”
Clinton Manning

“I can’t think of my life without Arsenal. Watching games whenever I can, even when I fled my country Eritrea to Sudan in 2007 and following the live BBC text from internet cafes there and following live games every week when I spent two years in Angola and obviously couldn’t miss a single game here in Belgium since my arrival.”
Tesfamichael Tewelde

“I’m a Nigerian who lives thousands of miles away from Emirates Stadium and I’ve been supporting during the good and bad times of the Club without ever regretting a decision I made 15 years ago. Arsenal is part of my life, long live Arsenal!”
Adekeye Emmanuel

““What is a weekend without football? What is football without Arsenal? On the brightest day when things go well and on the darkest night when things go bad, I’m an Arsenal fan come rain, come shine. I realised that Arsenal is the reason why I watch football.”
Raphael Onwe

““I went to the 1979 Cup Final aged seven and obviously thought it’s like this every year. The next year I cried my eyes out leaving Wembley, only to find myself doing the same at Heysel a few days later! I don’t cry when we lose now (not all the time anyway!) but I do when we win a trophy! Highbury was flooded with my tears the day we left.”
Mick Padfield

““Looking forward to discussing Arsenal’s history with my partner’s six year-old nephew who attended his first Arsenal match recently. Being able to describe the great players that were coming to the end of their Arsenal careers in his birth year: Henry, Bergkamp, Pires and Vieira, and recounting the remarkable unbeaten season and to tell him I was at Highbury for the Newcastle match near the start of that season.”
Barry Creswell

““Being in the Bernabeu to witness Arsenal’s one victory against the greatest club side ever. To be the first English side to beat Real Madrid at home was so special and made us all so proud to be The Arsenal.” Geoff Pollard

““My first ever football match was us v Bolton in the cup in the ‘90s. As I first entered onto the North Bank and saw a floodlit Highbury with thousands of fans singing together I knew that I had found my new spiritual home. Over the years, supporting Arsenal has helped me through the trials and tribulations of life; as I have a place to forget my worries and roar on the mighty Gunners! Thanks Arsenal for saving my life!”
Richard Adams

““What does Arsenal mean to me? Everything. It’s about boarding a rollercoaster and never knowing when the next high or low is coming. It’s about celebrating Anfield ’89 while coming to terms with Wrexham in ’92. It’s about winning in Copenhagen and losing in Paris. It’s paying homage to 49 games unbeaten, three Doubles, 13 league titles and 10 FA Cups, but also about patience in the lean years. It’s about sharing joy and pain in equal measure, about community and victory through harmony. Arsenal is about looking forward while never forgetting the past. It is 125 years of history.”
Andrew Allen

““Arsenal to me is a way of life. It has been ever since my dad took me to Highbury in 1963 and I saw the pitch for the first time. The one constant that has remained in my life is Arsenal Football Club. Family and friends have come and gone but Arsenal has remained.”
Paul Box

“That memorable night in 89 when we won the league at Anfield. My daughter was eight at the time and sat next to me colouring when Michael Thomas scored. I roared out of my seat, bellowing at the top of my voice. My daughter, poor girl, jumped with fright – her desk went over pencils everywhere. She does not let me forget to this day!”
Clifford McNamara

“I’ve moved country twice, further away each time. Family and Arsenal have remained constant in my life (don’t tell the wife I’m still a Red Member!)”
Mark Luyt

“My American friends just don’t understand why I love this team and game so much. All I can say is Arsenal has given me running around the house cheering highs, and eyes filled with tears lows. There’s nothing in the States that comes close and outside of my wife/family, Arsenal holds a special place in my heart! I’ll be a Gooner till I die.”
Christopher T Lott

“Arsenal to me is family memories – from my grandfather telling me about Charlie Buchan and Alex James, to seeing Charlie George score a screamer while standing on the North Bank with my father and grandfather, and now watching Van Persie with my son and daughter in the Emirates! Arsenal is a great club with a great history! (and future!)”
Mike Harris

“Ever since our dad introduced us to Arsenal when we lived in Finsbury Park in the mid ‘60s, me and my brothers have maintained our relationship with the Club – enjoying all its successes with great joy and sharing its disappointments which is so unconditional that only when you are part of a family like the Arsenal is that you will always love.”
Joe Mehmet

“Watching Arsenal beat Barcelona 2-1 at the Emirates, it was a special night and will forever live with me.” James Donkin

“Being an Arsenal fan all my life, I never miss a game. Even with my exams coming up, Arsenal still comes first.”
Saagar Raithatha

“It started with my dad, my nan and my cousin Michael. Now it’s just Michael, his brother and myself. The Arsenal is a part of our family and always will be. It’s a way of life, through the good and the bad I will always be proud to be a Gooner.”
Ben Ward

“Oh Arsenal my Arsenal. Simply put, Arsenal means the world to me! Gooner for life!”
Olukoya Oluseun

“Being there at Old Trafford and Cardiff in 2002 is quite possibly my most special memory – there are not many people in this world who get the opportunity to physically be there on both occasions and see the Club you love win the ‘double’.”
Marc Danton

“Being an Arsenal fan is the single best feeling anyone could experience. Arsenal runs through my veins.” James Clemo

“Being an Arsenal fan is being part of something special. I’ve lived and breathed Arsenal all my life – living in Highbury for 25 years, listening to the buzz of a matchday and watching the victory parades from to the town hall. I still have the yellow rose that was given to me en route to Wembley in 1998. Arsenal is life. And I have my wonderful dad to thank for that. We share every Arsenal moment together”
Lisa Glancy

“1969 League Cup Final – Arsenal v Swindon – I was aged 8, we were 1-0 down. Sitting next to my father, crying and begging him to make Arsenal score, up stepped Bobby Gould and it was 1-1. I could not believe the euphoria that I felt. Although we lost in extra-time, for me it was always going to be Arsenal for the rest of my life. In victory or in defeat, the passion never dies.”
Russell Gilbey

“A club that does everything with class; from how it plays on the field to how it operates in business to how it treats its people. Plus no one has a cooler nickname. How can you not be proud to be a Gunner!”
Okie Miller

“Being at Highbury with my dad the night we beat Anderlecht to win the Fairs Cup in 1970, and taking my own son when he was five to his first game during the last season at that lovely stadium. Three generations, one team.”
Peter Mason

“I refuse to fly on match days, and I refuse to go to places that will not show the game. I have seen them live with Arsenal fans in Brazil, Barbados, Japan, China, South Africa, USA and Malaysia. A massive thank you to all the Gooners abroad and at home. We love you Arsenal we do!”
Shezad Hassam

“I still remember as a youngster of about six or seven, that the word Arsenal possessed a certain indefinable magic which has still not diminished for me over 60 odd years later. If you are reading this in the programme now just focus (one of Arsène’s favourite words) and feel the magic.”
Graham March

“As a solitary Scouse Gooner in an Evertonian family, as a child I was mesmerized by Arsenal – vilified by friends for supporting the Club, fortified by Gooner brethren, and constantly electrified by the skill, speed and spirit known simply as the ‘Arsenal Way’. Arsenal is a leap of faith in Brady’s brilliance, Pires’ panache, Henry’s creativity, Arshavin’s audacity, or Van Persie’s chocolate leg. For me Arsenal means daring to be different – both on and off the pitch.”
Ruby Dixon

“The day of the parade when we went the season unbeaten is a day I’ll never forget. The whole of Islington was full of proud ecstatic Arsenal fans but one thing that stood out for me when the bus went past. I saw Freddie Ljungberg waving to the crowd, I screamed as loud as I could and he looked over, gave me the thumbs up and I caught that picture on my camera. That was the best moment of my Arsenal supporting life.”
Anita Hola

“From standing on a milk crate on the North Bank so that I could see I am now a Season Ticket Holder at the Grove, still attending matches with my dad and now my Junior Gunners, Daniel and Ceri. We are also Arsenal Ladies Season Ticket Holders, and to see them complete the ‘treble’ this season was awesome, and an inspiration to Ceri as an Arsenal Under-9 to succeed.”
Marcia Milnes

“I first went to The Arsenal in 1973, taken by my late dad who was from Derby, only to see County beat us 2-0. Fortunately I chose red and since then Arsenal have given me some of the greatest moments in my life. I feel so privileged to be a Gooner – class and history!”
Nick Rowe

“It was FA Cup Final day, 1950, Arsenal v Liverpool. I was a young lad living in Upper Holloway, N19. Very few people in our area had television sets, so my mates and I went up Holloway Road and watched the game in a radio and TV shop near the Archway. There must have been 50 people crammed into the tiny shop – all Arsenal fans! What a great day for a young kid! I was so proud to be Arsenal.”
Tony Sandell

“I had the great pleasure in watching the Arsenal win the first half of the ‘double’ in 1971 at Tottenham. My friend and I were standing at the opposite end when Ray Kennedy scored the winner. We were at the front of the terraces when the police pulled us up onto the pitch to save us getting crushed by the crowd. We sang and danced with all the fans on the Spurs pitch. A classic moment.”
Malcolm Bowskill

“Arsenal is quite simply my emotions. Win = happy, lose = sad, draw = OK (but could feel better).”
Luke Harron

“I was 12 when we won the title for the first time in my lifetime (1989) I remember jumping around the living room with my dad and brother and my dad nearly suffocating me, we were hugging so hard. I can’t wait to do that with my son, who is three, when we win our first title in his lifetime. Arsenal brings my family together.”
Paul Ragha Van

“I fell in love with Arsenal 10 years ago when I was a little kid in China. Now studying in UK, I can finally attend matches regularly to cheer for the best team in the world with so many people of same faith! I’m always so proud to be a Gooner. The team has been and will always be my life inspiration and spiritual support!”
Tianyi Zhu

“Arsenal has been a major part of my life. Anyone that knows me associates me with Arsenal. I am proud to be part of this wonderful family which is known the world over.”
Marco Sigward

“Being Highbury born and bred, I started going to games with my dad in season 1947/48. Quite simply, Arsenal has been such a great part of my life and will remain so until I die. Proudest moment was when Alex Forbes let me and a school mate hold up the FA Cup outside the ground in 1950.”
Bernie Sharman

“Arsenal is to my knowledge the only club that is referred to by the word ‘the’ and it has been a part of my life for 58 years, I am 68 and have been a season ticket holder since 1972. My wife of 42 years says I love The Arsenal more than her, well I have known it longer!”
John Booker

“Arsenal consumes my thought process from the moment I wake up to the time I go to sleep. Unless there are midweek matches, during weekdays my days are bleak. My social life is dominated by the fixture list and during the summer international football is a poor substitute for the love and commitment I feel for Arsenal.”
David Isaac

“It was May 3, 1971 and I was nine. My brother and I snaked our way through the crowds to the Paxton Road End at White Hart Lane but the gates were not yet open. The crowds grew, but some kindly men lifted us above their heads and we were passed to the front, behind the goal...where Ray Kennedy scored to win the league and we danced on the pitch once the final whistle blew.”
Mark Lewis

“Such is the beauty of the Arsenal way of playing football that watching an Arsenal match in London has become the ultimate goal of my life. I dream of that day when I’ll be at the Emirates!”
Sreenesh L Bhat

“Arsenal have given me some fantastic memories over the years, great victories and entertaining matches. My first ever match at Highbury was in August 1970 when I was six. Arsenal beat Manchester United, including George Best, 4-0. My greatest ever match was at Anfield, May 26, 1989. My dad Joe said to me “Don’t worry son, we have played brilliantly but it is not to be”. About two minutes later Michael Thomas scored. Uncontrollable joy soon followed.”
Dean Warren Ward

“Listening on the radio while at St Catherine’s College, Oxford to the Spurs game which clinched the championship. There were three of us - the only three Arsenal supporters in the college; most of the football supporters in college were Leeds fans. We danced round the Quadrangle after the game much to the annoyance of the Leeds fans and everybody else in college. But we didn’t care!”
John Thater

“Being an Arsenal fan made me grow up and be the kind of person that I am today. It made me realise that football is for everyone. It doesn’t matter what skin colour you’ve got nor what sex you are! The only thing that matters is which team you follow, and give that team all your support. Even when things are going badly, you must believe that they will get better. You cannot give up. Which is probably one of the most important things that I have ever learned.”
Ingrid Paola Elgaard

Copyright 2014 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 12 Dec 2011