By one of our Junior Gunners - Ciaran, 16, from Islington
On Tuesday, October 25, Arsenal were playing Reading in the EFL Cup in what was Arsenal’s fourth straight home game.
Understandably, there were some tired faces among the Arsenal staff, so myself and five other Junior Gunners volunteered to give them a hand.
While many of you reading this were going through your own matchday routines, the six of us were eagerly waiting to find out what job we would have for the evening, based on the applications we sent in. Bags labelled with our names were set out and from there we began what was to be a unique evening for us all.
They say Arsenal have one of - if not the best - pitches in Europe and not many can say that they have been on it. Tristan, however, had that privilege as he helped to get the pitch ready for the game. It involved Tristan helping the ground staff prepare the pitch to perfection before the game and to maintain that perfection at half-time. It's a very important job, and one that Tristan did like a natural and which meant that the team had a perfect pitch to push them to victory.
Arsenal’s first team kitman Vik Akers is a legend to say the least, but was still given a helping hand by Ethan. Ethan’s job involved him sorting out the kit and boots for the players and placing programmes by each player’s area. Ethan had to be quick and efficient to get everything perfect for the players' arrival, and I can tell you that it was. Unfortunately Ethan’s favourite player, Mesut Ozil, wasn’t there, but he had a surprise visit in the changing room from Petr Cech who decided to come in early and say hello. I even grabbed a cheeky selfie.
There are a lot of jobs and people involved on a matchday so there was no better person to organise it all than Daisy, under the watchful eye of the reliable Sue Campbell, of course. Daisy’s job involved her making sure everyone was doing their job properly and keeping to schedule. She gave everyone a star rating out of ten and if they didn’t reach standards, Daisy made sure to let them know. The only person to get ten stars was Gunnersaurus. Everyone else, on the other hand, was lucky to even get four. Daisy did an excellent job with everything going to plan, including an Arsenal win.
Arsenal have many photographers working at every moment to give a different angle on what has happened. Joining them was my namesake, Ciaran. Ciaran learnt the ropes from David Price on how to take the perfect picture and what it means to be a matchday photographer. Ciaran had to be on red alert to make sure he could grab the perfect picture both before and during the match. His pictures were fantastic and some were even put on the official Arsenal Twitter and Instagram accounts. A future photographer in the making - watch out David Price!
Nigel Mitchell is the main man behind the mic pitchside on a matchday, and he was joined by Danye as the matchday host. Danye’s job involved asking questions to the rest of us Junior Gunners, giving information to the supporters and even asking Paralympian David Weir a few questions at half-time. In what seemed to be a very nervous-looking job, Danye stepped up and made it look as if he had been doing it his entire life. Nigel Mitchell has a bit of competition! Danye was a natural and fitted the role so well.
My job for the evening was matchday reporter, which involved practising my interview techniques with other Junior Gunners and learning how to run the club’s social media on matchday. In the second half, I was able to go into the press box with the staff who were running the Twitter account and other club channels for the night. They showed me how everything works during a match and they even let me send out one of the tweets! I, of course, didn’t hesitate to ask if Arsenal would follow me on Twitter and thankfully, they obliged. After the game I had the huge honour of asking Carl Jenkinson a question during his interview on the matchday show. I was shaking a bit, but held my nerve and all went well. Ed the cameraman got some good shots of it as well, which was great!
Overall it was an outstanding and memorable evening for all of us, in which we were thrilled to have played our part in experiencing Arsenal behind-the-scenes on a matchday, and of course to see Arsenal win.
All of us will be waiting eagerly for our individual job offers which, after our efforts, should be with us soon!
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