Sunday, 2 February 2014

Meet the Gooner Family [Shane Lust, Auckland]

Meet Shane Lust, my host for an evening in Auckland. Shane hails from Highbury. No two fans are the same, and they all have their own ways of being passionate towards the cannon. Shane is no exception. He's a little bit eccentric, which might explain him rambling on a bit in this 'Meet the Gooner Family' episode. Or maybe it was just him being drugged-up to the eyeballs on Vicodin after breaking his foot playing football with his five-year old nephew. No joke.

Shane Lust

Q. Why Arsenal?

Shane doing his best Källström impression
Arsenal have a tradition and class about them that very few clubs have.  From their humble beginnings as the royal armoury factory team through the Chapman era with the famous Art Deco stands to the fine suits the players wore in the Graham era.  From the captain's decision of what length sleeves the team wears to the sports science revolution that Wenger brought to the English game. There's an atmosphere of respect and discipline that surrounds the club. Arsenal have always advanced the sport.

Arsenal have watched footballing dynasties rise and fall but we have always been one of the top clubs. We've won the title in all but one decade since the thirties and had an unbroken run in England's top division for almost a hundred years. An accomplishment no other club comes close to. Oh, and The Invincibles.

If Arsenal was a bloke at a party, he'd be the one that arrives fashionably late, dressed to the nines and takes the best looking girl home. I hate that guy, but I love Arsenal.

That and I love the chicken curry and chips at the Arsenal Fish Bar on Blackstock Road, Highbury.  

Q. Started Supporting Arsenal?
As long as I can remember though wasn't really interested in following it until I was about 12 and saw us win the Littlewoods Cup against Liverpool in 1987.

Q. Favourite Player?
Thierry Adams, the two Mr Arsenals!

Q. Favourite current Player?
Theo. He gets a lot of stick but he's great to watch and scores some really important goals. The way he was carried from the pitch being showered with scarves made him look like a young Pharoah being adored by his subjects. Gutted his season is over.

Q. Favourite Arsenal moment?
Beating Loughborough Town 12-0! Okay, Anfield 89.

From a more personal point of view though, I worked for Arsenal in the club shop in Finsbury Park in the early 90s having done 3 weeks with the club on work experience when I was 16. The staff got to go to the games and stand in the staff enclosure but had to leg it back to the shop a few minutes before the end to open up again for the punters.

The day we were presented the trophy for winning the league in 90/91, having just beaten Man Utd 3-1, was about to be gutting, as I had to leave before the festivities. That's when the commercial manager, John Hazel, tapped me and his son, who worked with me, on the shoulder and said "I need you two boys to stay back and help set up the trophy table in the centre circle". There we were on the pitch with the likes of Adams, Bould, Seaman, Smith, Rocky, Limpar, Dixon, Winterburn and Arsenal legend, David Hillier! The 40,000 plus crowd were deafening from the middle of the pitch. After patting Tony Adams on the back I faced the North Bank held aloft my scarf and ensured Monday at school was met with great fury and jealousy by those who were there and had seen me. Best job I've ever had and being part of the Arsenal family in the days when it really felt like one will always hold great memories for me.

Q. Where do you watch Arsenal in Auckland?
On my patio in the sun having avoided all media until it's acceptable to drink beer and eat peanuts.

Q. Emirates or Highbury?
You can't beat the smell of horsesh*t and onions on Gillespie Road can you? Highbury for me, all day long. North Bank middle, middle, standing just behind the trench coz I'm short.

Q. League Prediction?
1st

Q. Who will be Arsenal's player to watch for the second half of the season?I wanted to say Draxler but that never materialised. Santi's coming into some form now, I think he's going to have a considerable impact.


COYG

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