Wednesday 4 September 2013

Meet the Gooner Family [Jesper, Gothenburg]

So a North London Derby win and a true marquee signing has wrapped up the first two weeks of the Premier League season, and it also marks the end of the first 'chapter' of the Gooner On The Road challenge in Europe, with the next stop being Montreal in Canada to kick off the North American section of this ridiculous challenge I've talked myself into doing.

I spent much of my time in Gothenburg nursing a hangover (I sound like a broken record) after celebrating the beating of Spurs. Thankfully my host Jesper Larsson, who also helps to run Arsenal Gothenburg, was more than happy to do what he could to get me feeling human again. 

Jesper's bookshelf: The sign of a true Gooner
To me, I felt that Gothenburg was a bit like Copenhagen in that, although it seems like a fantastic city to experience some great culture, if you're a backpacker and you're watching the pennies, you're limited to what you can really do. Having come from Prague and Berlin before these two Scandinavian cities, the difference was measured mainly in the price of the beer, but I'm sure you can apply the same thing to other areas that don't cause immediate brain-failure afterwards. At least this time I didn't succumb to the tourist trap open sandwich at £15 a pop.

In fact, even if I had wanted to spend any money in Gothenburg, I don't think the local gooners would have allowed me to. It was like this at the Cheers Pub for game day, but it was also the case with Jesper, the GOTR host in Sweden, who paid for virtually everything whilst I was there and didn't want to see the colour of my money, which really was top notch. Of course, Jesper also helped to put together a great lottery that helped raise near-enough-makes-no-difference £600 (with a little help from the pub of course!) for TNBC.

Jesper Larsson
Jesper and I in full body Arsenal man-dress

Q. Why Arsenal?
It was the pre-season tour, we played against Swedish team, Trollhatter 1991, I think I was 10 years old. My Grandad always supported Arsenal, so he took me to this game at Trollhatter (Limpar was playing). I got a scarf and my first questionable replica Arsenal jersey.

Q. Started Supporting Arsenal?
As above, 1991.

Q. Favourite Player?
Dennis Bergkamp. I'd rather see clips on Youtube of his best assists than anybody else scoring goals. He read the game like nobody else, saw things that other people didn't see. Amazing precision. He made Freddie Ljungberg look good with the assists he made for him. Obviously as a Swede we remembered those moments well.

Q. Favourite current Player?
Tomas Rosicky, it has been for quite a while. He's had his ups and downs, but the last year has been great to see him play again, smile, score goals. He has speed, determination, and lots of energy. Very good to see him come back from injury and he is going to mix it well with Ozil and Cazorla in the fight for creative midfield spots.

Q. Favourite Arsenal moment?
Henry's comeback goal versus Leeds. It was a fairytale story. I remember I was at my parents house, and I screamed so loud that my mum came out of the bedroom to see what all the commotion was about, I think she had thought I had won the lottery or something crazy like that. It was a typical Henry goal. The celebration afterwards, you could just tell from that alone that he was, and still is a true Gooner.

Q.Where do you watch Arsenal in Gothenburg?
Cheers Pub. Great atmosphere, only our 2nd season there. The staff look after us, the walls are red and white, there's lots of TVs. It's also just the right size, so it keeps the atmosphere in. 

Q. Emirates or Highbury?
I never managed to go to Highbury, so I would have to say Emirates. I like the artwork on the outside, and I also appreciate the architecture. Yes we haven't won anything there, but that will change soon enough

Q. League Prediction?
I think we will compete for the title but I don't think we will win it. I would say 3rd place finish. I think Chelsea will win.

Q. Who will be Arsenal's player to watch this season?
Mesut Ozil ! ! ! The expectations will be insane. I think he is in the top 5 players in the world alongside Messi, Ronaldo, Falcao and <ahem> Bale. He could be our new Bergkamp!

So, with the final European 'Meet the Gooner Family' over and done with, it's time to bid farewell until next time. I will be flying to North America on Friday where I will kick back for a while before starting the next leg of the GOTR campaign on the 14th against Sunderland, where I will be at the Burgundy Lion in the city of poutine, smoked meat and questionable infrastructure, yes it's Montreal. In the meantime, please keep spreading the word and donating to the cause!



  1. Jesper Arsenal Göteborg14 September 2013 at 13:13

    C'mon Pete! Write something. Your job is important! Hope you're doing well in Canada! COYG!

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