Here’s what I’ve been up to over the last few weeks.
Saturday, March 21Newcastle United 1-2 ArsenalTwo more goals from Olivier and another three points at St James’ Park helped keep us hot on the heels of Chelsea.
Monday, March 23Today I went along to a Premier League Enterprise Challenge event at Emirates Stadium. Teams from 26 community departments were asked to devise a plan to attract more families to first-team matches. This event was one of three semi-finals, and seven teams progressed to the final in April. At the end of the day I was on hand to give out the certificates and have team photos. On my way back I popped in to give some blood. The nurses sat me on a bed and I had some pictures done just before they put the needle into my arm. I’m not sure what blood type I am, but I hope they can make use of it to save lives. Then it was off to the Armoury to meet some shoppers and people on the Stadium Tour. Thursday, March 26Today I went to a couple of Double Club school sessions in Hertfordshire with the boys from our community department. I then popped in to the training ground where a Double Club school were having some coaching and a look around the facility. Sunday, March 29Today we hosted a friendly international between Chile and Brazil, and guess what I had the day off! So I was able to sit back and watch some of the world’s greatest footballers including our very own Alexis Sanchez who was playing for Chile and Neymar who was playing for Brazil. The game finished 1-0 to Brazil. Saturday, April 4Arsenal 4-1 LiverpoolYou won’t see four better goals than the four we scored against Liverpool today. The day started meeting our mascots. Our little Junior Gunner had come all the way from New Zealand! Kolo Toure gave me a big hug as he got off the Liverpool coach and Thierry Henry who was also at the match came over and asked if I was ok. I had ‘GunnerCam’ fitted onto my collar so all the action was captured for you to see online. I had a little walk around the pitch and a kick about with the mascot before the game started. It was 3-0 at half time and I was out trying to save some penalties on the pitch. David Ospina nearly got to Jordan Henderson’s penalty in the second half before Olivier popped up with another classic goal to finish it off. I went up to a couple of boxes after the game and as you can imagine everyone was in a really good mood. We moved up to second in the league. Tuesday, April 7Our under-21s played at the Emirates tonight and more than 3,000 fans turned up to watch. We were playing Stoke City and after going a goal down early on, we went on to win 4-1. Some of our first team players returning from injury were given a run out so it was good to see Abou Diaby, Jack Wilshere and Serge Gnabry back in action. I was up to my usual tricks having fun with the crowd before kick-off. Wednesday, April 8Its Easter holidays at the moment so I called into Pentonville Prison with our community team for a family fun day. There were lots of children visiting so I was kept busy looking after them. We took along some games, colouring pens and some pictures of me for the boys and girls to colour in.Later that afternoon I had a very special assignment. I went to Highgate Wood Easter Soccer School where I surprised a young Junior Gunner who had been selected to be our mascot at Wembley for our semi-final against Reading. Everything was filmed and the young girl was viably shocked when her name was called out. We had her Arsenal shirt which she will wear when she leads the team out and of course her match tickets for the big day. I stayed around a bit so everyone could grab a picture with me. What a fantastic day! Friday, April 10Our new Arsenal in the Community Sports Centre will be opening soon so I went along for a trial run to meet a group of school children who were trying out the new facilities. The artificial pitch looks really good and will keep me very busy in the weeks to come. Later in the afternoon it was a very special day for our selected 4-7 year-old Junior Gunners who had been invited along to the stadium for a Junior Gunner Easter Event. Over 140 Junior Gunners and their parents had a day of bouncy castles, face painting, colouring, football with the Soccer Schools coaches, Xbox and dancing. We also had some live chicks and bunny rabbits for the children to hold. I was my usual busy self, meeting and greeting and posing for lots of pictures and also joining in all of the activities. Saturday, April 11Today was the annual Be a Gunner. Be a Runner event (of BAGBAR as it is sometimes shortened too). This is the Arsenal Foundation charity fun run and the flagship race took place at the Emirates Stadium. Supporters from all around the world held their own races to raise money for the Arsenal Foundation. There were super efforts from our Chinese and Singapore supporters who raised a fantastic amount of money for the Foundation. Legendary goalkeeper Bob Wilson was on hand at the Emirates to start the races and give the winners their medals at the end. But today was not all about winning it was about taking part. Later that afternoon the boys had a very tricky game at Turf Moor and came out on top with an Aaron Ramsey goal giving us all three points against Burnley. Sunday, April 12It was FA Women’s Cup quarter-final day today and our girls had a very hard match at home to Chelsea at Boreham Wood FC. There was a lot happening before kick-off so I helped out with the face painting and gave away some prizes. Of course everyone wanted a picture with me. We lost the game 2-1 so unfortunately won’t be going to Wembley for the final this year. Monday, April 13We had another under-21’s game at the stadium tonight, this time against our FA Cup semi-final opponents Reading. We lost 1-0 to a goal scored by our former defender’s son, Martin Keown. Again there was a chance for Abou, Jack and Serge to get a run out as they got back to match fitness. Wednesday, April 15Arsenal Ladies played against Bristol Academy at Borehamwood tonight. Beforehand there was a girls’ football festival with several teams taking part in a mini tournament. I stayed around until the end to have some pictures done with the teams before heading inside the Stadium to meet the fans attending the match. The Ladies got back to winning ways with a 2-0 victory. Thursday, April 16Today I went along to Copenhagen Street School with our community team for a Double Club assembly. I surprised all the boys and girls with my entrance and they were all so excited to see me. We played a few games with them before everyone got a high five as they left. Later that evening I had a birthday party to attend for a young Arsenal fan called Bailey. He was eight years old and was very surprised to see me turn up as he knew nothing about it. I played football with all of his mates who were there before wishing him happy birthday as he blew out his candles on his cake. Saturday, April 18Semi-final day and I’m off to Wembley. I arrived at the stadium about two hours before kick-off. I had my instructions and was able to walk around the pitch to see all the Arsenal fans. I even bumped into the two Reading mascots and we all posed for a picture together. Our matchday announcer invited me onto the pitch where we showed the video of surprising our selected Junior Gunner mascot on the big screens. The game was not a classic and went into extra-time but two goals from Alexis saw us through to the FA Cup final in May with a 2-1 victory. Sunday, April 19We now know our FA Cup opponents will be Aston Villa. They beat Liverpool 2-1. Monday, April 20Today I went along to the offices of BT Sport in Leavesden, Watford, to promote the Arsenal Ladies team and encourage more families to come along to watch their games. The staff at BT Sport were invited to take part in some activities while myself and Faye White gave away some goodies. That’s all from me for nowBig hugs from Gunner
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