This afternoon I would ask for your attention for 5 minutes to read a blog that contains no tactics, no formations, no transfer speculation or indeed anything about the Arsenal team, their woeful start of their forthcoming fixtures. What you are about to read however does have an awful lot to do with being a Gunner and by definition a member of an extended family and the camaraderie that entails………………
Football – An utterly ridiculous rollercoaster of highs and lows that once you are strapped in, is sure to be very difficult to exit. It didn’t start particularly well for this guest blogger; in the space of two weeks in December 1994 we lost the first two home games I attended, both to a 1-3 scoreline. I wasn’t allowed back again until August 1995, a dismal 1-1 draw at home to Nottingham Forest. However these results did little to diminish my enthusiasm for despite the lack of entertainment on the pitch, I had become completely fixated by the camaraderie in the stands. Fully grown men declaring their love for a player one minute and tearing him to shreds the next, the constant chit chat between season ticket holders whose bonds clearly went beyond 90 minutes on a Saturday afternoon and of course the ecstasy of the ball hitting the back of the net…I’d found something that I wanted to belong to.
Something I came to realise quite quickly was that for all the highs and lows on the pitch, the true memories are of the people that you share those moments with off the pitch. So it was to my great pleasure that having travelled, gone to university, fluked my way in to a decent job and bought a shoe box flat in Islington, I found myself watching football with same group of friends week in week out during my mid-20s, sharing those highs and lows together, loving the camaraderie. Since then we’ve had as you’d expect, engagements, weddings, a baby….all those great things you share with mates you met through football, away from football.
It therefore came as a bit of a hammer blow when one of our group told us on a summer’s evening in 2013 that he’d been diagnosed with Multiple Sclerosis. The debate around the lack of summer transfer activity put well and truly in to perspective. It was difficult to really comprehend at the time but I think it’s fair to say that we were all grateful for the bonds that had been formed in the preceding years, in the stadium and the pubs following the Arsenal.
Fast forward two years and PeloTonyAdaMS was born. In May next year, over the space of four days, eight of us will be cycling from London to Paris to raise funds for Multiple Sclerosis Trust. Same mates, same camaraderie working towards a common goal. Although it’s fair to say that even at this early stage some are better prepared than others!
Our fundraising efforts are already underway, having held a pub quiz at the Tollington, we’re currently raffling off an Arsenal FA Cup flag signed by Alan Smith and Perry Groves and have a karting tournament booked in for early October. There will be further events and challenges and we’ve already received great support from people we’ve known for years and people we might never meet in person. Our minimum fundraising target is £12,000 but I think given the backdrop of the Arsenal and football in general we can potentially aim much higher. This blog isn’t intended to ask you give up your weekend beer money in order to give it to charity (although you can if you wish!) what we really are looking for is people to spread the word about what we’re doing and our cause, to make sure that the events that we hold are known about by as many people as possible and that if people would like to sponsor us they can no matter how small or large the amount.
I started off this ramble talking about bonds and I’ll leave you on the same theme. In June we held our first event, a pub quiz in the Tollington. The team that eventually won had come down to the pub as a two man team with I think it’s fair to say “limited ambition”. They ended up in a five and demolished the last couple of rounds to record a storming victory. The celebrations were hilarious and bonds had well and truly been formed. Hopefully we’ll get to see a few more of those moments between now and May next year and be raising money for a great cause along the way.
Thanks for reading
The Team – @Alex_T @chuckdavie @edward_quigley @jonmhill @mattyeggwards @rich_euphrates and Simon – Cycling London to Paris for @MStrust
I sincerely hope some of our Gunners Town readers will get behind the boys and help them raise valuable funds to fight MS and perhaps in turn their long-term Gunner friend. Just consider that even a small donation of a £1 when multiplied by thousands could make such a dramatic difference.
I know we are all bombarded by requests from charities and friends doing amazing things for fabulous causes but I commend this one to all Gunners.
Thanks for taking the time to read this and the links are below to the sponsor the boys on their epic bike ride to Paris or indeed join them and fellow Gunners at the Go-Karting event orgnaised for October
Dave @goonerdave66 Editor
Karting tournament registration page: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/super-pelotonyadams-go-kart-tournament-tickets-18114757728 that would be great.