By Tony Attwood
A couple of years back I mentioned to Ivan Gazidis the idea that Arsenal might collect the memories of fans who have been to watch matches over the years. He was enthusiastic, but unfortunately it is one of those things that has never been able to get off the ground.
The idea was simple: a small group of volunteers would stand, armed with recording devices, at pre-arranged spots before a match, and anyone who wanted to tell us their story of Arsenal could do so.
We’d then need an army of people to transcribe the recordings, and this is where the notion fell down – we needed the club to organise this bit, and it didn’t happen. But I’d still very much like to bring it back to the club as a project.
Which is why the idea of the recordings were revitalised when the AISA Arsenal History Society put its plans to the club for the celebration of 100 years at Highbury under the “ISLINGTON 100” banner.
The Arsenal History blog already contains a number of articles by fans recording their first visit to Arsenal – which was invariably at Highbury – and indeed if you would like to contribute to this, you’d be very welcome. Just send your remembrances as a Word or similar text document to Tony.Attwood@aisa.org There’s a link to the existing memories series below.
But for ISLINGTON 100 we wanted to go further and do the recordings as well – which is the part of the process the Society doesn’t have the resources to handle on its own.
If we ever could go beyond the written memories of Highbury then the resultant collection of stories would be invaluable. Indeed we also suggested to the club in our ISLINGTON 100 submission that some of the statements that resulted from the stories we collected might be used within the Exhibition.
Also, it is not inconceivable that a book “Memories of Arsenal in Islington” could result. This might come not only from Arsenal fans, but also a few players who might be willing to be interviewed for a few moments on the subject.
Unfortunately as I have mentioned before, Arsenal have not come back to us on this – so the oral collection is on hold. But the collection housed on this site is still here, and we’d like to make it grow. Any Highbury memories are welcome – and the piece you send can be short or long. Just email it to me at the above address.
First Timers: The first time I saw Arsenal
3: Proposals for a major exhibition to celebrate 100 years of Arsenal in Islington at the Emirates Stadium.
4: The commemoration of the men who moved the Arsenal: Jack Humble, William Hall, Henry Norris