Listening Report – First trip to Highbury
Riaz’s dad remarked that his son’s first trip to Highbury to watch Arsenal play would be hard to improve upon.
It was Easter Monday 1992, a national holiday and the weather was perfect. Warm with bright sunshine; perfect t-shirt weather and Riaz was wearing his Arsenal home shirt, red and white with the famous cannon over the heart and JVC, that season’s sponsor, emblazoned across the front.
His dad had somehow managed to borrow (rent?) two season tickets for the home game against Liverpool and so they made their way north to Finsbury Park station on the Victoria line. Before heading to the stadium they made a stop off at the Arsenal shop, located right by the station exit. It was an Arsenal dream world of replica kits, training gear and other merchandise. His dad bought him a scarf, which he hung loosely around his neck as they walked through the residential streets towards the famous old art-deco Highbury Stadium.
They went through the turnstiles and found their seats right on the halfway line in the second tier, a perfect view of the entire pitch. The atmosphere in the stadium was fantastic. Everyone was enjoying the sunshine and the early promise of a decent summer. The sound of 38,000 people cheering as Tony Adams and the team came out onto the pitch and waved to all four stands in the ground was like nothing he had ever heard before. Kick-off was just minutes away.
Liverpool’s glory days were fading but they were still a big club and this was a big game. Nobody expected an easy win but that is what they got. From the kick off until the final whistle Arsenal were rampant. The highlight of the game was the Swedish midfielder, Anders Limpar, lobbing the Liverpool goalkeeper from the halfway line, which is not something you see too often! When the game ended Arsenal had scored four goals with no reply against the former European champions and you could feel the happiness in the home crowd. He can remember bouncing back to Finsbury Park station excitedly, waiting to tell his mum about everything that had happened in the game, which he is not too certain she was very interested in hearing.
Like his dad said, his first trip to Highbury couldn’t have been better!
The Gunners: Arsenal’s nickname, referring to the cannon on their badge
emblazoned: Written across, decorated
turnstile: A gate made of revolving metal bars fixed to a vertical post, allowing only one person at a time to pass through
rampant: Unstoppable, incredibly attacking and successful
lob: A verb or a noun: to lob is to hit the ball in an arc above the head of the goalkeeper