More than a cup

It’s an important day. Not only do the team I’ve followed for most of my 33 years face their best chance of silverware for a decade, but crucially their victory (God-willing) could prove to be the point my son becomes a fan.

Despite being dressed up in the ‘I dribble for Arsenal’ baby grow and crawling around in a tiny polyester replica shirt that transformed him into a red and white vandagraph machine, the eldest has since renounced his Gooner fate. The swine.

From a fling with Chelsea (after a ten second glimpse of Champions League football) an allegiance to Liverpool as they topped the league and then Cambridge (for no reason I can elicit) – Arsenal has been relegated to a fitting fourth place in his affections.

Part of it, of course, is down to peer pressure. The opinion of new friends suddenly outweighs that of dear old dad. And, how can you argue back? When support only consists of who is best, the bulging cup cabinets of Manchester City, Chelsea and Manchester United take some topping. It takes a brave child to side with a team who has gone without for nine years.

So today I hope my son will see that his old man has backed a winner after all and may come to love Arsenal no matter how many times they snatch defeat from the jaws of victory.

The alternative is not worth thinking about. I can live with the defeat – but I don’t think I can live with a Hull fan.

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