The Interview – with Highbury Harold

This is the last in this weeks new feature of ‘The Interview’ were you’ve been treated with 5 difference Arsenal fans each day answering questions on their Arsenal, background and memories.
To finish us off I speak with Marc from the Black Scarf Movement otherwise known on Twitter as Highbury Harold (@blackscarfAFC)

Thank you for taking the time to chat to us Marc, so firstly how long have you supported Arsenal?
Since I was a kid. My family are from Islington so I’m 5th generation in a long line of Arsenal fans, and had family members there when Highbury was first opened . My boys are 6th generation and I’d like that tradition to continue.

 …Can you remember watching your first Arsenal match?

Arsenal Vs Coventry
Arsenal Vs Coventry

I remember the experience more than the game. It was late 70s against Coventry and we sat in the West Stand lower tier. If you’ve seen Fever Pitch, the feeling was exactly like that – going up the steps from the concourse and seeing the Highbury pitch in front of me. Took my breath away as a kid and it’s something I’ll never forget; even without any players on the pitch I was already hooked. Highbury had that magic to it, and I’d give anything to experience that magic just one more time.

Did you have a regular end or stand when you attend at Highbury?
It was a transition I guess. When I was first taken as a kid we’d normally be in the East or West Stands (lower and upper tier). My first match was West lower.
When I started going with my mates as a Junior Gunner we were supposed to go into the JG’s terrace at the front of the West Stand (you used to come in via the Gillespie Road terrace turnstiles) but we’d always venture into the North Bank instead. It was lively in there and we wanted to be with the ‘hardcore’ supporters instead of the kids. So the North Bank was where I grew up – where I pretty much did my apprenticeship as a terrace supporter.

As I grew older (maybe 16 onwards) me and my mates moved to the Clock End… first on the terrace and then after that as a season ticket holder in the seats. I was there until the end and in fact was one of the last people to leave it after the Wigan game. They shut the gates behind as the last few of us finally walked out.

Who out of the current team would you pick as your favourite Player?
That’s a tough one because I don’t really relate to many current first team players like I have with those in the past. I guess because of his ability and desire, Jack Wilshere.

It’s the Arsenal DNA isn’t it? Who’s your favourite all time Arsenal player?

Tony & David
Tony & David

Another tough one. I can easily name my all time top 5, but as for top of that list it’s a toss-up between Tony Adams and David Rocastle. I suppose my head would say Tony Adams – Mr Arsenal – but my heart will always say Rocky. I was there on his debut, I was absolutely gutted when he was sold, I’ve been lucky to meet his family in recent years and in addition to the sheer skill he had as a player, he had that same passion for The Arsenal. He was one of us and he’d fight for the cannon.

Do you have any expectations for Arsenal this year? 
Well one of the cups has gone already and we’re now 11 points off the top of the table. Can’t see us winning the Champions League because quite frankly we aren’t good enough. Winning the FA Cup would be nice but we’d need a fair amount of luck and I think we used up plenty last year. So I think it will be yet another fight for that 4th place trophy.

What would you say is your most memorable Arsenal match?
Anfield 89. No other game will come close to that, ever.

Rocky's semi final winner
Rocky’s semi final winner

Do you have a most memorable or favourite Arsenal goal?
Apart from Michael Thomas’s goal at Anfield, one that always sticks out for me is Rocky’s winner in the 1987 Littlewoods Cup replay. I was there that night and the celebrations were something else. It was like we had about 50,000 on that terrace – it was absolutely amazing!

When you’re watching the Arsenal either home or away do you have a favourite chant?
That would be ‘B’Jesus said Paddy’.

Do you have any pre-match superstitions?
Not really… more ‘routines’ but not through superstition – it’s just what I do and where I go!

Which fixture or team do you hate or fear Arsenal facing the most?
Spurs will always be top of the hate list. To me they’re our fiercest rivals – usually not in the football sense but just what it means and having that rivalry instilled in me from stories growing up, to being on the terraces as a youngster and having those feelings build.

As for fear, I don’t fear any opponent – we are The Arsenal – but there are usually opponents you feel you’re going to get turned over by. For instance whoever we end up playing once we’ve got out of our Champions League group. It’s regular as clockwork in recent years.

PSG Vs Arsenal '94
PSG Vs Arsenal ’94

Do you have a favourite away ground that you’ve been to?
I’d have to say PSG in 1994. Not really for the ground but more the whole day – by far the best away trip I’ve been on with The Arsenal and I don’t think anything will come close again for many reasons!

Favourite Podcast(s)
To be honest I don’t listen to many podcasts – I think there are far too many and I tend to ignore rather than listen to them all and decide which ones are best out of the 600 available! I’ve been on the Bergkamp Wonderland podcast a couple of times and like what GFP and Gimli have built, but more often than not I don’t have much time to sit and listen to people talking about Arsenal. 

Your must have Twitter follow?
@DarrenArsenal1. Mainly because he’s rarely ruffled (most of us can get wound up and into rows on there!) and generally talks sense.

 
Okay, a couple of quick fire questions now:

Red or Yellow? Red

Clockend or Northbank? Clock End

Sitting or Standing Standing

Santos or Eboue Eboue

Wenger or Graham Graham

 

Marc, it’s been a pleasure speaking with you and thanks for taking the time to speak to me.
So that’s it for the first week of ‘The Interview’ I hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as I have.

The Interview will be a fortnightly feature and next in the hot seat will be Dave Seager (@goonerDave66) of 1 Nil Down, 2 one up and Co-owner of Gunners town, season ticket holder and book author of the brand new book ‘Geordie Armstrong on the Wing’

 

To catch up on this weeks other Interviews:

 

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