Friday 16 May 2014

Penultimate post: 6 points, FA Cup Final preview + Tea with Piers

Well, I'm back in the UK after a monumental trip around the world. It's been successful beyond my wildest expectations, and I have the #GoonerFamily to thank for the majority of it.

I actually returned to England on the 1st May, which isn't exactly the end of the season. I had it in my mind that, considering I watched the first Premier League fixture of the season, at the Emirates
Elia and Anand from Oz and Malaysia respectively
against Aston Villa, I'd do all that I could to watch the last home match there too. So that's what I did. With Arsenal already guaranteed a top-four finish, the match against West Brom was tension-free. It was also rather tedious to watch if I must admit, apart from Giroud's headed goal. But it was nice to be back at the stadium, particularly as there were a few Arsenal supporters attending who I'd met and stayed with along the journey.

Of course, West Brom wasn't the last game of the season. And I had set out to watch every match, live, regardless of location. As is tradition in the UK, every single game on the final weekend of the Premier League is played at 3pm. And as the final game, versus Norwich, had nothing resting on it, there was no TV coverage. It meant I had to get hold of a ticket. Thankfully I've built up quite a following on Twitter and, with nothing decisive to come out of the game, there were tickets popping up everywhere. A nice chap called Shaun sorted me out with one and I was relieved to know I'd be going to watch my last game of the regular season.

Scotland, Hong Kong, Malaysia. In a Belgian restaurant.
In London
Norwich was, in all fairness, a much better outing for me than The Emirates a week before. For a start, our travelling fans are a great vocal bunch and, with Wembley looming, there was more than enough incentive for our support to get rowdy. Tie that together with a convincing Gunners display and a stunning volleyed goal from Aaron Ramsey, and the day was a hoot. It was definitely a satisfying way to finish off the journey.

But, the journey still isn't over. Wembley is this weekend. Our biggest chance yet to get that horrible, ageing monkey off our back. I never imagined that we'd get this far so didn't anticipate there being a hunt for a ticket. To be honest, I was just glad that we managed to get to the final. There were loads of options available for me to watch the game at pubs. And I had something more important to focus on, I still had to find $1400 in time for the fundraising deadline (the 17th May, last day of our season).

Of course, most will know about this:


Yep. I won one of three ticket from Piers Morgan for the FA Cup Final. I was gobsmacked by the amount of people who had suggested, on Twitter, that I should be one of the lucky winners. I've never won anything in my life either. It was truly humbling.

So when Piers messaged me to say that I'd won, I asked him if it would be OK to auction the ticket off for my fundraiser, as it would have likely made up a big chunk of what remained. But he probably would have gotten into trouble (haha, Piers Morgan getting into trouble?) for giving away a ticket that would be sold. So, instead:


I can't quite sum up how it felt to know that A) so many people had put me forward to win a ticket B) I'd won a ticket to Wem-ber-lee! C) Piers Morgan loved what I had done D) I reached my milestone goal of $15k for the charity and E) I would be meeting Piers at his bloody house to pick up the ticket! Craziness.

So, I met Piers at his house yesterday at [top secret location]. He really is a good guy, despite what others will say. Some people get a bad rap, but Piers Morgan really is alright, and remember, despite what people say, he is a true Gooner, with his own opinion, much like everybody else. Also makes a good cup of tea!

Beyond my wildest dreams, this is how the adventure is coming to an end. Now if we could just lift that cup, please.