Every matchday programme features an exclusive feature with one of our first-team stars. Ahead of Saturday's game with Manchester United at Emirates Stadium, we caught up with Arsenal legend Jordan Nobbs, our longest-serving player at the club.
When it comes to playing at Emirates Stadium, there’s really no other feeling like it. Even more so when I think about the love I have for this club and how long I’ve been here now.
I definitely don't take for granted the feeling I got back in the early days playing here, because playing for Arsenal is always an honour and a privilege, that hasn’t changed. When you're a top club like that as a young kid and you’ve got players around you that you could only dream of playing alongside, like Katie Chapman, Kelly Smith and Kim Little, it reminds you why you’ve worked so hard to become a footballer. And then why you think of playing in the Champions League or experiencing games at Emirates Stadium as just a young kid, that’s why you start playing football, to experience those big games and big moments wearing a shirt that’s got so much history.
But when you look around now and see 40,000 in the stands and the supporters are chanting your name, it’s something else. There’s no better feeling than scoring goals in front of a big crowd and giving people memories that will stay with them. I’ve always had a special relationship with the supporters, they’ve backed me through thick and thin and I think they can see what this club means to me and the effort that I’ve always given for Arsenal. They’re a massive part of what makes this club so special, and I think especially over the last 12 months or so, they’re a big part of why I’ve been able to keep my confidence up and keep working hard on the training ground. So, thank you!
Back in the day I remember us getting 5000 or so supporters at the Emirates, but for us to now be able to sell more than 40,000 tickets for the north London derby and come close to that again today, it’s just incredible seeing the way the game's changed.
We’re basically selling out Meadow Park every game now too, and for me, that shows that people are really investing in us emotionally now. They don’t just want to turn up for the big one-off game every season, they want to be with us week, in week out. It adds a different level of pressure for us as players to maintain our level of our performance, but it’s a pressure that we welcome! It’s becoming a normal routine for us now and that’s just amazing to see. Obviously, investment is key for the growth of the game. But at the end of the day, we want fans to join us because they want to come and they love the game that we play.
As players, we’ve always loved the sport at every level we’ve played it at. When we were kids, when it was not professional, semi-pro and now professional, and I think our attitude to the women's game has never changed either. We’ve always given our all, we’ve always wanted to win and we’ve always wanted to get better, and I hope that comes across in the way that we play together as a team.
The past two years in particular has been crazy in terms of our growing relationship with the supporters. When you go out now, you get noticed so much more and you see your teammates on billboards, adverts on drinks and things like that, and I know that’s not the reason we play football, but I think the more that can happen, the more it will help our game. The visual side of it is so important points for the little girls and little boys growing up to see the women's game as a part of their lives, and just a part of football. Those interactions and random chats are maybe one of the most rewarding things about being a footballer, and especially being a footballer at a club like Arsenal.
I just find it so weird thinking about how far my name has travelled now compared to just a few years ago. On social media for example, whenever I play or get a goal recently, or even when I’ve been out of the team, the love and support I’ve been feeling is incredible. It gives you such a boost. Recently after a game when I was getting on the team coach, there was a young girl asking for my signature and she said she was going to cry! I just think it’s so crazy that I can make someone feel like that by just playing football. But I mean, that's what kind of makes it so special to be a part of such a big club like Arsenal and to have the opportunity to give my all to this club. Whenever I pull up my shirt, that's all I want to do, and I love that people recognise that. It means a lot to me.
As for my season so far, I think it’s been one of two halves. It’s been tough in stages, but I’d say I’m quite an experienced player now, so I've seen when players have kind of thrown the dummy out and I've never, ever wanted to be that player. I think I've obviously learned from others, which obviously, might not be a good thing at times, but in terms of myself, you know, I know, whatever happens, I'll give 100% in every single training session and game, whenever I’m given the chance to represent this club. I wouldn’t say it’s luck, but I think little moments come about because of how hard you’ve worked, and I don’t think those recent moments would have come for me if I hadn’t been working so hard behind the scenes. It’s been tough mentally because of course I want to play every single game, but I’ve stuck it out, worked hard and hopefully all of you think that I’ve taken my chance.
The journey I’ve been on has been crazy. I started the season on the bench and within a few weeks I’m back in the starting XI and captaining the team, which is always an honour for me that will never get old. It’s crazy how quick things can change in football and it’s nice to know that Jonas still sees those qualities in me, both as a player on the pitch and my leadership qualities too.
I obviously want to be a part of the England squad, and I know that requires game time to make it possible, so I think when I got my chances recently, I've obviously been under a lot of pressure to perform, but that’s football and it’s a pressure that I’m used to. All I can do is control what I can do, and that’s training well with the aim of helping the team to win whenever I get on the pitch. I think it's a huge part of football, to remember that you’re part of a team and it’s not just down to one person, and who knows, when you think like that a little bit of luck might come your way.
It's tough, but I think that so many things can happen in football, and I always tell myself if you’re doing all you can, there’s nothing more you can do. In my mind, there would be nothing worse than coming home from training and feeling like I could have given more, and you’ve just let the day pass you by. That’s not who I am, and it never will be.