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Thursday 18 October 2018
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Being a female football fan

“Red army!”

“We hate Tottenham, we do!”

What with football being the main sport in England and all, you will probably have guessed which team uses these chants. Arsenal, who originated in my birthplace of Woolwich.

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However, with the most expensive ticket prices in England, any day I get to see them play live is a rare and special occasion – the count is currently standing at four.

The last time I went to see them was the 24th of October 2017, when they beat Norwich 2-1. It was a tedious night. Kick off was at 7:45 pm, but the game went into extra time, so we got home at around midnight. It was cold. The ten-minute walk to the train station took about half an hour and hole magically appeared in my gloves.

You know what though?

It was brilliant.

I’ve been supporting Arsenal for as long as I can remember, and I can’t say that I’ve loved every second of it – they’ve developed a nasty habit of not doing very well against anyone, which is a bit frustrating – but I can’t imagine what my life would be without it.

I’m not your average 14-year-old. I’m obsessed with football to the point that it dictates what friends I have and when I go out. I got a personalised Arsenal t-shirt for my thirteenth birthday. And I’m a girl.

Story Time!

Recently, I went on a day trip to Cambridge University, and on the drive back home, I eavesdropped on a conversation being had behind me about football.

I say eavesdropped, but it really wasn’t that hard. About 5 boys behind me were arguing each other at the tops of their voices on their respective football teams, each insisting that their team was superior because of the strength of their back four, or something like that.

Finally, after listening to them disputing for about an hour and a half, the topic turned to my team, Arsenal, and they were all scratching their heads about how many draws they had had during the ‘Invincibles’ season of 2003-04.

However, when I butted in to tell them it was 12, I was treated like an alien and was then subject to an interrogation of the highest order.

This happens all the time. It’s hard to blend into a crowd when you’re the only female there, but there’s a new generation of female football fans who will force our way into the stands and will not be silenced.

Watching football live gives me such a thrill. On the best days, which I think my day was one of, the atmosphere is electric. An entire stadium moving forward together as one, sharing the elation and frustration of the players, joined as one for 90 minutes. Not Ebun, Yomi, and Dabira, but Arsenal. 60,000 people united with one voice and one chant.

We are Arsenal.

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