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How Theo Walcott Made Me Support Arsenal

theo walcott arsenal goonersphere

How it all began.

When I was about 11 years old I started kicking the ball for a small football club in Berlin, 1.FC Karlshorst. I didn't stay there for long as I didn't have the passion for the game that I have today. For one and a half years I trained, played and had fun at Karlshort but I had no big motivation to strive to become a footballer nor even a become a fan of any club!

In 2006 the football World Cup took place in Germany and the now well-known “Fanmeile” (officially named Fifa Fan Fest Berlin) was established that year. The street “Strasse des 17.Juni” was closed therefore between Brandenburg Gate and the Große Stern (Great Star). A bit south at the Sony Center I watched some group matches on a big public screen as I always got tickets for free. 

Introduction to England

When I first heard that a 16-year-old was in the squad of England I was baffled. I could not grasp why a young boy had been given the opportunity to be a part of such a big event. His name was Theodore James Walcott and that was the day I started supported England.

My friends thought that I was crazy not to cheer Germany because I was German and was interested more in other teams and their values than the German national team. Germany had a well-balanced squad with Kahn, Lehmann, Lahm, Mertesacker, Huth, Friedrich, Hitslsperger, Schweinsteiger, Frings, Neuville, Ballack, Podolski, Klose and some others, but it was not meant to be.

I will never forget that I really was impressed by Trinidad and Tobago because when you watched them play you could witness how much fun these players had. Their players always helped other teams' players to get up again which is an attitude I really admire. 

The small tournaments my team mates and I played in (back shift to 1.FC Karlshorst) never really caught my imagination or passion. The atmosphere I witnessed about 7 years later at the Olympic Stadium in Berlin made me understand what football is about. First of all it is about a real special atmosphere because most fans sing their own chants and banners are made every week by them to cheer the team up much more. Every move in football gets its own sound. A foul, a goal or a beautiful pass…it is always something else, because in football everything can change quickly. 

I don´t remember against whom Hertha BSC played that time around, but they won the game 2-1 due to a fabulous 20-yard-free kick from a Brazilian which nickname was “Mineiro” if I remember it correctly. This goal had been scored within the last minutes of the game and the fans roared and it was a fantastic evening and beginning to become a football fan.

Arsenal

In 2007 a friend of mine said something about a player called Thierry Henry who I had not heard of until then. We chatted and I told him that I liked Walcott because he must have something different if he is allowed to get a chance in the biggest football tournament of the world at such a young age. And then he told me that they play together at Arsenal. For him it was clear that Henry was an extraordinary player and I thought that I have to know much more about Walcott, Henry and Arsenal FC.

Back then I had no TV or even Internet at home which made it nearly impossible to find out more about an English Premier League team. But by the end of 2010 everything changed. My brother allowed me to watch the Arsenal games on his computer regularly and I was stunned by their style of play. I had not seen such accurate passing and movement from Hertha BSC in Berlin. Some months later I watched Wilshere playing in the game against Barcelona and just aged 19 he delivered an extreme performance. When I watch passages of the game again it always gives me goosebumps!

To show so much desire, will and enthusiasm to come back against the best football team of this time period was an unbelievable success in my eyes which made it clear that I had found the team with the right values, mentality and fans as well.

That is how I became an Arsenal fan. That is how I became a fan of football.

First published in March 2015. Updated on 16.03.2017

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Tags: Theo, Theo Walcott, Thierry Henry

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