Let me start by saying that as an Arsenal fan I’m a disgrace. Yes I admit it. A few years back I was going to most home games, but (bearing in mind it’s been the home of the Gunners for over a year) this was my first visit to the Emirates Stadium. Having said that, that’s still one more time than most ManUre fans have been to Old Trafford. To make matters worse, I didn’t even pay for the ticket – it was courtesy of one of the best things about being in a sales role… corporate hospitality. Food, entertainment, more food, some free goodies, a bit more food, and then see the match. Lovely.
The itinerary told us to be at Highbury House for 17:30 and make our way to the Board Room. The actual Board Room where the Arsenal directors meet? Yep, apparently so. The itinerary also stated “Champagne reception with Arsenal legend” – and they weren’t kidding. We walked through the door and were met by none other than Charlie George.
During drinks Charlie (see, we’re on first-name terms) talked about his playing days, and after some excellent food Charlie talked to the party about the success of the club (both financially and on the field) under Arsene Wenger. He then posed for photos, autographed programmes (I have one, and no you can’t buy it from me), and presided over a prize draw for an Arsenal pennant signed by the first team (which I didn’t win – one of our customers did, which was probably a good result).
Soon it was time to go see the match, so we said our farewells to Charlie and made our way to our seats in the Emirates Stadium (see the Wallpaper page for some photos). It’s an incredible place, and of course more spacious than the cramped Highbury in every respect. To cap off an excellent evening, Arsenal battered poor old Slavia Prague 7-0 (with two goals for Theo Walcott, even though it was past his bed-time).