Faye White says that she wanted to sign for Arsenal Ladies as soon as she saw Highbury for the first time.
The legendary England defender was 17 and playing for Horsham Ladies when she received a phone call from Vic Akers, asking her to meet him at the historic stadium in north London.
“I came to have a look around Highbury before I signed for Arsenal,” she told the Arsenal Weekly podcast. “I actually met up with Vic Akers at a McDonald’s near where I live to talk with him about the move initially before he invited me to Highbury.
“I was walking in from the car park underneath and when I walked up some stairs I found myself in a box at Highbury. From that moment onwards I knew that I would be signing. I knew Arsenal was the biggest club in the women’s game then, even more so than it is now.”
White went on to lift 31 trophies in 17 seasons with the Gunners but the 38-year-old admitted that she never expected to captain her club or country for more than a decade.
“A couple of months before I became England captain Hope Powell pulled me aside and said that there was a chance I could lead the team,” White said. “We were walking out onto the pitch to warm up before an international friendly at Selhurst Park and Hope said, ‘I think you’re going to be the next England captain and I want you to prove it to me over the next few weeks’.
“As you could imagine I had the best game of my life knowing that! I think it was against Iceland when I was captain for the first time. A few weeks later Vic decided to make that change at Arsenal too. He told me before and it was hard to keep quiet.
“Everyone was speculating and I already knew it was me, but I couldn’t say anything. I kept it to myself until he announced it. It was unbelievable at that time and nothing that I really expected. I’m quite quiet around the group but on the pitch I leave everything on the field.
“It was a big learning curve over the years but it was a proud moment for me because, when you think of women’s football, Arsenal have always been the best team. To be captain for over 10 years for club and country was hard because of injuries and tough times, but it drove me to enjoy myself for as long as I could.”
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