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A Statement ‘for the Fans’

It was so early in the season, too early to be playing at Old Trafford anyway. Our chances were lately not very good of getting a result there and this particular August of 2011 we would have had a better chance of getting Piers Morgan to apologize for ANYTHING. We had just sold Cesc and Nasri was on his way out. Sagna was injured as was Jack.

We had a lineup with Jenkinson as our RB and Traore as our LB, a very young Coquelin in MF and Djourou as a central defender. To say our cupboard was bare would be the understatement of all of modern history. United beat us like Julia Child with a bowl full of egg whites, and deservedly so.

But that isn't what I remember from that match. I remember singing.I remember a constant defiant voice that should have embarrassed the "home" support and probably did. Yes, I'm talking about our beloved away support. Their passion was so overwhelming that even our board and Ivan Gazidis felt the need to acknowledge them with concessions post match.

The love for our club in the face of a devastating display reminded me of Walt Whitman's famous line "I sound my barbaric yawp over the rooftops of the world." Their love for our boys was indeed a "barbaric yawp". I have never been more proud to support Arsenal than that day. They forced all of us to take stock of why we support Arsenal.

It's not for the trophies. It's not for the champagne football. It's not even for Arsene Wenger. It's for the badge. It's for the club. It's for the pride of North London but, mostly it's for the friends we have made through supporting the greatest club the world has ever seen. I have met some of my best friends by being a part of the nation of Arsenal support.

I am convinced our away supporters are THE best in England and rival most away support of any club in Europe. Every match I watch away from The Emirates the only singing I hear is ours and it is relentless. I beam with pride when my wife walks in while I'm watching an away match and she says "Wow, the home crowd is loud!" and I give her a cheeky smile and say "That's not the home crowd. That's the Arsenal away crowd." Even SHE is taken aback. Even in this day of players loyal only to the writer of their next paycheck, I can imagine past Arsenal players having only unforgettable memories of how magnificent our away support is. You guys make all of us so proud and I, for one, would like to thank you.

This year was no different. Every match in full voice for the entire match. At full time in the Newcastle match a week ago there was a massive cheer when the whistle blew. NUFC like to put the away support so far away from the pitch but it made no difference. Your voices and your pride could not be silenced. It's clear to me that other clubs envy our away fans. I was searching YouTube for any video taken by one of ours at the match at full time and I came up with several where a Newcastle supporter trained his camera on OUR supporters for the last ten minutes of the match. They are watching their team at their home ground and find it more interesting to film OUR fans. Repeat that in your head and tell me that doesn't make you beam with pride.

So, here's to you, away boys (and girls). You deserve our respect, our thanks and our praise. YOU give us all a sense of belonging that goes way beyond any coach. It goes beyond any owners. It especially goes beyond any traitorous ex player that thinks HE knows the fans enough to think they would side with him over The Arsenal.

The song will never be anything other than "We love you, ARSENAL, we do...".

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