Monday 27 May 2019

My ultimate betrayal - confessions of a fan in Europe Part 2

Playing in goal for Paris St Germain the night they lost to Arsenal in the Cup Winners Cup semi final was Bernard Lama (who later went on to play for West Ham United).

Nearly ten years later, the similarly sounding artist, Lemar, came third in BBC's Fame Academy, which led to the talent show's winner, David Sneddon, breaking apart Avid Merrion's poo with a coat hanger on Channel 4's Bo Selecta!

Lemar went on to produce some of his own solo creations, such as If There's Any Justice in November 2004, which inexplicably reached No.3, not quite a number two, in the charts. While the justice in that song (written by Lee Greenwood) scaling such heights is debatable, the justice in me being at the 1994 European Cup Winners Cup Final was clear enough.

After that fateful phone call with my mate which seemed to end my European dream, I couldn't accept that it was all over. By the end of the conversation, my mate was under the impression that we would sell our tickets on Saturday, at the last home game of the season against West Ham. Though stripped of morale,  and questioning the point of existence, I explored other options, first tentatively asking more casual match-goers of our Arsenal group if they could take my mate's ticket and go with me. Bitterly, I found with them that my time wasn't their time, at least financially.

With general time running out, I asked my mum, a fan for World Cups only, if she would come with me. She scoffed at the idea, not seeming to understand my desperation. I shouldn't have been surprised. In January 1985, when Arsenal lost 1-0 in the last minute of a 4th Round FA Cup tie at Third Division York City, she asked my tortured 9 year old self "What's an Arsenal fan's least favourite chocolate bar?" Answer: "A yorkie". She expected I would laugh. Didn't see the next bout of uncontrollable sobbing coming.

I hadn't cried for Arsenal since then, but was beginning to feel as mournful. 

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