Friday 18 October 2013

Meet the Gooner Family [Gabriel, Austin TX]

Meet Gabs Pineda, a Brit living in Austin, Texas. Having spent most of the international break back in Austin, I met up with Gabs a few times to watch the international games and cause some trouble on 'Dirty 6th Street'. As you can probably tell from the picture below, he is an Arsenal nutcase, and although he's not one of the GOTR hosts, it wouldn't be right without doing a quick 'Meet The Gooner Family' feature on him. By the way, to his surprise, Gab's wife Audrey organised all those jerseys like that. How awesome is she?

Not sure what's more impressive here, the kit collection or Gab's facial expression

Gabs Pineda

Q. Why Arsenal?
I grew up in London Colney, Hertfordshire which is the village where Arsenal have their training ground. The area is predominately full of Arsenal fans but occasionally you will find the odd Spurs fan. With the training ground a stones throw away from my parents house, as a kid I would cycle down to the old UCL training ground, watch them and just dream. From then on all I wanted to do was play football, collect my Arsenal Panini stickers and follow them whenever I could.

Q. Started Supporting Arsenal?
I think it all started when my mum bought me an arsenal bag for school when I was 7 years old.

Q. Favourite Player?
This is a difficult one because I class the players in different eras in my head. Transporting myself back to the 70s I’d say Liam Brady and his wand of a left-foot. His unselfish game was a powerful combination of guile, graft and creativity that made him unique. Moving onto the 80s, I’d say David Rocastle just because of Arsenal’s finest ever moment at Anfield in 1989. Rocky played every single game of that 88/89 title winning season and I loved his skills, speed and true passion for the Arsenal. In the 90s, Ian Wright was one heck of a goalscorer and loved his crazy character. I modeled myself on his way of playing and tried to copy his clinical striking whilst being the striker for my local football team. Tony Adams has to be mentioned because he was the ultimate one team defender and natural leader. Finally the two kings, Thierry and Dennis. Which is my favourite?....I think Dennis Bergkamp shades it because he just mesmerised me with some of his amazing goals, control, skills and elegance on the ball. He has produced some sick goals and skills over time but my highlight has to be the finest hat-trick in history at Filbert Street……………damn it….I forgot about Pires! Anyway, all True Legends!!

Q. Favourite current Player?
Laurent Koscielny because of how important he has become to the team after such an erratic start to his Arsenal career. I was at the Wembley Carling Cup final to witness his last minute shocker that gifted the cup to Birmingham. I know he was still adapting to English football from the second tier of French Football in that first year so I’ll let him off on that one. Since then he has improved immensely and made that position his own. He has become Arsenal’s pivotal player and it was down to his defensive displays and goalscoring last season that saw us pip Spurs to 4th place.

Q. Favourite Arsenal moment?
Don’t need to explain this…………Friday 26th May 1989. Will never be beaten as my favourite moment.

Q. Where do you watch Arsenal in Austin.
Watch the games mostly at the Tavern, but occasionally try to do away games around town.

Q. Emirates or Highbury?
With Arsenal not having won anything since leaving Highbury, then it has to be Highbury. I miss the trophies we used to collect with monotonous regularity. Highbury was a place of pure beauty. It was compact and actually felt like a proper football stadium. With the fans being so close to the pitch, most of the time it had a great atmosphere. Highbury could even be quite intimidating on Cup nights. Emirates still has a long way to go but we needed to evolve with the times. I was also at Highbury when Dennis scored those two screamers and his first goals for Arsenal against Southampton in 1995.

Q. League Prediction?
Really depends on how we cope with such a small squad. We must invest in a striker in January. I predict minimum Top 3.

Q. Who will be Arsenal's player to watch this season?
Ramsey is on fire so he has been the highlight so far and really hope his form can continue without any further injuries. I’m also looking forward to seeing Ozil acclimatise to the Premier League. Once he does, he could get scary. He reminds me of Liam Brady.

So, the international break is almost over. Tomorrow I watch the Norwich match up in Kansas City (home to Walt Disney believe it or not).