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My journey from America to Wembley

Alexis puts Arsenal in the FA Cup final

Trevor Jones is a long-time member of the Bay Area Gooners. Here's his story about a recent trip to see the Arsenal, with tickets arranged by Arsenal America.

TREVOR JONES

My road to Wembley started innocently enough. My wife and two kids had planned a vacation to Paris & London for a couple of weeks nearly a year ago – and, after checking the Arsenal schedule, realised it coincided perfectly with their match against Sunderland on the weekend we arrived in London. Perfect!

I contacted Arsenal America, made the necessary arrangements to buy tickets for the four of us – patiently waited until I heard back, and the next thing I knew I was weeks away from a bucket list wish of seeing my beloved Arsenal in person for the first time.

Cut to March 9. Arsenal are playing Manchester United in the FA Cup quarter-final and Danny Welbeck scores to put us 2-1 up, assuring us a spot in the semi-finals – fantastic!

Will this man be the hero again?

Danny Welbeck

 

Wait a minute….that means the semi-final against Reading would be played on April 18… The SAME DAY as MY match against Sunderland?! My fears were realised when I saw the official schedule change. My tickets would be postponed until May 20, three weeks after we return home from our vacation.

I contacted Arsenal America, and they were kind enough to offer to refund my tickets. A small consolation after such a huge letdown, but at least it was something.

"One other thing", they said. “There's a slight chance we’d be able to get tickets to the FA Cup semi-final at Wembley… Would you be interested?”

“Yes! Of course!” I responded.

A few more weeks passed, but still no word as to wether the tickets would be available. I was growing more and more anxious as our trip was quickly approaching.

Then, with days to go, I got the e-mail I was dreading. There were no available tickets. I received my money back, and that was that. My dream of seeing the boys in action was gone.

We left for Paris and I tried my best to put the game out of mind. We strolled the streets, enjoying the city, but all the while I could feel a pit in my stomach… I can’t believe I’m not going to the match.

Arsenal fans v Reading

Arsenal fans v Reading

 

After a week we left for London – and as we were still at the airport, waiting in line at customs, my phone chimes. An e-mail from Arsenal America, and I couldn’t believe what I was reading. Apparently there might still be tickets for tomorrow's semi-final available. Nothing sure yet, but was I still interested?

Yes!

After a series of more back-and-forth e-mails – my heart racing the entire time - it looked as though it was going to happen after all. What great luck I was having!

Hold on. Letdown number two just arrived. Another gut-wrenching e-mail from Arsenal America.

“We’re very sorry to have gotten your hopes up, but unfortunately it seems as though the tickets are in fact sold out.”

For God’s sake – I’m going to drop dead from a heart attack before long. How torturous does this have to be? A couple of pints at the local pub with dinner and the disappointment was really starting to set in.

Another chime from my phone. Great, an e-mail with more bad news? My heart would be put to the test one more time, Arsenal America letting me know that - with apologies for the ups & downs - they DID now have tickets available and four of them would be for me. Is this really happening? Is this a set up for some cruel reality show?

This time it was true. My family and I went to Wembley the next night and got to see Arsenal play their way into the FA Cup final against Reading - all credit Alexis. What a ride!

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This first appeared on Arsenal America on April 29

Arsenal America

If you haven’t seen a live game yet, the best analogy I can think of is that it must be a bit like online dating - though I missed this trend having been married for nearly 20 years.

Over the years you watch your beloved Arsenal each week on TV or online and develop a type of relationship - albeit from thousands of miles away - a feeling that you know the players - not unlike an online relationship. You feel a connection, but yet there’s still something tangible missing.

Watching Arsenal that evening was like meeting that online romance in person for the first time – you already know them so well, the good and the bad, but it’s a glorious thing to see them in person!

14/15: Reading 1-2 Arsenal - Alexis Sanchez

 

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