Category Archives: Football

Chicken City Vs Egg United – 11.5.24

Match Report by Tom, 11.

Setting the Scene

This was the second year of Alex Horne’s Comedy Football match. Comedy football because it’s played by comedians, but also because of the rule changes that Alex introduced.

  1. You must shout your own name every time you shoot.
  2. A goalscorer can double their goal by pulling off a crossbar challenge immediately after.
  3. Goalkeepers must go up for every corner.
  4. Managers must be in the centre circle at all times but mustn’t touch the ball.
  5. When ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus is played, a second ball will be introduced.
  6. If you get a yellow card, you must wear a yellow marigold glove for the reast of the game.
  7. If you get a second yellow card, you must do the washing-up after the match.
  8. If a team goes three goals up, every outfield player on that team must hold hands with another of their players while ‘I Want To Hold Your Hand’ plays (This rule was never introduced throughout the game).
  9. If the referee thinks that you’ve done something very well, you must wear the wonderful wig – a pink curly one! The player wearing the wonderful wig at the final whistle gets a £20 cash prize.
  10. Each manager has a party popper/ confetti cannon each and they can fire it whenever they want (but the ball must be out of play.) They then must choose one player from each team to play a one-on-one for the next two minutes. Both goalkeepers keep playing too though.

It was a really hot day and the match was taking place at the home of Chesham United, the Meadow.

My mum’s favourite bit was the songs that were played before the game. There were lots of well known songs that had place names in, but the place names were all changed to Chesham. Galway Girl, by Ed Sheeran, became Chesham Girl, Back in the U.S.S.R by the Beatles, became Back in the C.H.E.S.H.A.M and Walking in Memphis by Cher became Walking in Chesham. There were loads of others and they were all very funny.

Before kick off the teams lined up for the anthems. You can see the lyrics below.

The teams line up for the anthems

The Teams

Both teams were made up comedians with a handful of players from Chesham United’s men’s and women’s teams helping them out.

Chicken City

The reigning champions who played in the home kit of Chesham United in claret and blue.

Stuart Laws (GK), Mathew Baynton, Doc Brown, Maisie Adam, Ivo Graham, John Kearns, Matt Winning, James Gill, Elis James, Gemma Fraser (CUFC), Ellie Doerr (CUFC), Kieran Murphy (CUFC), Eoin Casey (CUFC), Ennis Alhashimi (CUFC), Hugh Dennis (Player Manager)

Egg United

The host, Alex Horne’s, team were wearing the Chesham away kit of yellow and black.

Tom Rosenthal (GK), Alex Horne, Tim Key, James Acaster, Mike Wozniak, Mark Watson, Sophie Duker, Charlie Baker, Annie McGrath, Alex Brooker, Jon Richardson, Jim Daly, Andy Devonshire, Becky Fraser (CUFC), Tasha Smith (CUFC), Lewis Rolfe (CUFC), Jeanmal Prosper (CUFC), Matt Rose (CUFC).

Director of Football – Nish Kumar

The Match

First Half

The game began with both teams in their own goals and when the ref blew the whistle, they all ran to the middle to try and get the ball. To start off, the holders, Chicken City, looked like the better team. The control then changed hands when Egg United scored the opener.

Then one of the Egg Utd players attempted the crossbar challenge and… failed. The Chicken City players continued to attack and their continuous relentlessness finally resulted in a goal. The Chicken City player failed the crossbar challenge and it was at 1-1.

The Chickens continued to press and it became 2-1 to Chicken City not long after. Can you guess what happened for the crossbar challenge? If you said that it would be missed, you would be correct. The Chicken City players weren’t as attacking but still scored again to make it 3-1, the crossbar challenge remained unconverted.

Now in came rule 5, the one about ‘Wrecking Ball’ by Miley Cyrus. The second ball caused some chaos, with the host, Alex Horne taking advantage and scoring for the Eggs. 3-2! Egg-citing! The crossbar challenge still remained uncompleted. Do you think that this rule is pointless?

Then Egg United had all of the momentum and, using that momentum, they score again just before halftime but, again, they didn’t convert the crossbar challenge.


During halftime, there was a penalty shootout between 75 local schoolkids and it only took two rounds to find a winner. At first glance, the goalkeeper looked tiny, but he made some great saves. in the second round, there was only one goalscorer out of about 35 kids.

Alex Horne led a minute’s applause for a local boy who tragically lost his life recently. If you are able, you can contribute to a Go Fund Me page to support his family here.

Also during half time, Sam Campbell presented Chesham United with their new mascot, Chess Ham. Chess Ham is a pig with a big chess piece on it’s head. Unfortunately, soon after Chess Ham came onto the pitch he started being chased by a butcher who wanted to make sausages out of him. It was very funny.

Second Half

The second half contained even more silliness and fun. The fox in the box, Alex Horne, kept causing havoc in the City box and made the 7th goal occur with the luckless John Kearns steering it into his own net. Oops! The crossbar challenge conversion was failed once again.

As the second half progressed, the Chicken City player/manager, Hugh Dennis, became the first of the two managers to fire his confetti cannon. This meant that there was a 2-on-2 match, including goalkeepers, happening for two minutes before the rest of the team rushed back on to join in again. This was a clever and funny rule, however, it didn’t result in any goals and the players involved looked quite tired. The same happened later on when the Egg United manager played his.

Throughout the second half, the tempo slowed due to the intense heat and the game looked to be heading for a 7-5 Egg Utd win. However, in the 90th minute, Maisie Adam scored to make it 7-6. As she stepped up to take the crossbar challenge conversion, the crowd were silent. Then, she became the first player, at the 13th attempt, to complete the crossbar challenge. 7-7! Adam celebrated in the same way that Chloe Kelly celebrated her winner at the 2022 Women’s Euros. She took her shirt off and sprinted around in extreme ecstasy. The crowd went crazy. The referee blew his whistle. The game had ended.


The penalties were taken in a MLS-style shootout. Each player had 5 seconds from the referee’s whistle to score from about 40 yards out. They ran forward and tried to beat the ‘keeper. Most missed, finally Andy Devonshire scored meaning Chicken City had to score to stay in the game, but Elis James stepped up but couldn’t round Tom Rosenthal. Egg United were the Comedy Football Trophy Champions for 2024!

Congratulations to Egg United who lifted the massive pineapple

Notable Performances

Mat Bayton: Good on the ball driving forward from midfield.

Maisie Adam: A really good player and the only one to hit the crossbar making it a very exciting end to the game.

Elis James: Not great, but not as bad as Nish Kumar was telling everyone he was.

Alex Horne: He was clever by taking advantage of the confusion of the two balls on the pitch.

Mark Watson: A good defender who runs a bit like he’s stepping on Lego.

Mike Wozniak: Good at passing.

Jon Richardson: Tidy on the ball.

Tom Rosenthal: The only one to wear the wonderful wig twice because of some good saves. He looked really hot in it.

Nish Kumar: A funny commentator.

Stuart Laws: Decent in goal and unlucky with a few ‘offside’ decisions that didn’t go his way and led to goals. He told us afterwards that the linesman had warned him, he’d be booked if he carried on complaining about it. Harsh.

Follow this link for more match reports and theatre reviews.

Egg United warm-up in the Chesham sunshine
Me and my sister enjoying the match

Havant and Waterlooville VS Tonbridge Angels – 9.3.24

Setting the Scene

The Hawks are second from bottom and running out of games to turn it around. They won the last match and were looking to make it two in a row against Tonbridge Angels. Earlier in the season, however, against the same opponents, the match finished 4-1 to the Angels in the reverse fixture.

The Line-ups

Havant & Waterlooville: Worner (GK), Stanley, Innocent, McNerney, McCarthy (C), Carlyle, Seager, Jewitt-White, Kealy (Deacon 45’), Whittingham (Jebb 45’), Roberts

Tonbridge Angels: Henly (GK), Fielding, Lyons-Foster (C) (Gard, 45’), Higgs, Odokonyero (Popoola 86’), Hinds, Dabre, Sutcliffe, Shields, Vincent, Hanson

First Half

It was a bit of a scrappy start with lots of high balls and not many players able to control the ball on the ground, they mostly headed it instead. Tonbridge took an early lead with Tariq Hinds chipping helpless goalkeeper, Ross Worner, after just six minutes. Quarter of an hour in and it was 1-1 after the pressing paid off for the Hawks. Jake McCarthy was in the action with a shot firing to the back of the net.

On 25 minutes, Ryan Seager, The Hawks’ main man up front, turns in a well placed cross from the right wing. 2-1!

Moments later, James Roberts breaks free down the left and the header from his cross was glanced narrowly wide. Havant were on top and looking to extend their lead.

A few minutes later, Tonbridge had a good chance and when the ball got chipped towards the box, McNerney, the Hawks centre half, attempted to clear the ball and, by doing this, inadvertently cleared the ball with a shot on his own goal, with Hawks’ ‘keeper, Worner, saving the shot with a quick reaction leap.

Half Time: Havant and Waterlooville 2-1 Tonbridge Angels

At half-time, I got myself a 25th anniversary edition Havant and Waterlooville 3rd kit, which is a dark blue colour and really nice. We also got The Hawky Porky from the food van. It’s chips covered in pulled pork, BBQ sauce, crispy onions and cheese and you have to get one if you ever go to a match at Havant. So good.

Second Half

Havant brought on Roarie Deacon and Jack Jebb for Callum Kealy and Alfy Whittingham at half-time to take further control of the game, but I think that it’s safe to say that the plan quickly backfired.

Mohammed Dabre made it 2-2 with a fine finish from 30 yards out 5 minutes into the second half. This forced Havant to try and regain control of the game. The majority of the crowd were Havant supporters but there were a group of Tonbridge fans who’d brought a drum along with them, which they banged quite a lot, singing different songs and they got particularly excited when Dabre scored.

The 25 minutes that then followed were mainly controlled by Havant, with a couple of Tonbridge counter attacks, but still no goals for either side.

Jake McCarthy had a rasping shot tipped over by the Tonbridge ‘keeper on 75 minutes after lots of Hawks’ pressure and attempts on the Angels’ goal.

It was fairly even for much of the second half after the Tonbridge equaliser but there was some good link up play between Deacon and Stanley down the right hand side for the Hawks during that time.

Harry Jewitt-White was tidy in the middle of the park, throughout and looked composed on the ball. Surely a career at a higher level is ahead of this loanee from Portsmouth.

Full time: Havant and Waterlooville 2-2 Tonbridge Angels

The game ended as a draw which isn’t much good to Havant who are still 10 points from safety with 10 games to go.

Player Ratings

Worner (GK) 8, Stanley 8, Innocent 8, McNerney 7, McCarthy (C) 9, Carlyle 8, Seager 9, Jewitt-White 9, Kealy 7 (Deacon 45’), Whittingham 7 (Jebb 45’), Roberts 8

My Player of the Match was Jake McCarthy who scored Havant’s opener and made a couple of other good chances.

Thank you…

A big thank you to Ellie from the Commercial and Events team who made sure we were well looked after during the match.

Find all of my previous match reports here.

The Havant players celebrate their second goal.

Chesham United VS Gosport Borough – 18.11.23

Setting the scene

It was a top of the table clash between 2nd and 3rd in the league. Chesham were looking to bounce back from 3 defeats in a row, 2 in the league and 1 in the FA Cup. It was my 1st time at The Meadow, home of Chesham United, who are nicknamed The Generals, and they hosted Gosport Borough, who, like us, had travelled up from Hampshire.

The Line-Up

How the teams lined up…

First Half

The first five minutes were with lots of long balls in the air and it was fairly end-to-end and scrappy.

Chesham settled into the game well and had a few chances. Ogochukwu Obi and Ricardo German, who represents Grenada internationally, couldn’t quite find the space and time to convert the chances and the Gosport Borough defence were very well organised.

On around 40 minutes, the Gosport striker went through on goal and the goalkeeper (Algerian, Zaki Oualah) made an amazing save to keep the scores goalless just as the linesman raised the flag to signal offside anyway.

On the brink of half-time, Ricardo German scored a powerful header from a Harry Rush corner to make it 1-0 to Chesham United! The crowd erupted and went into half-time happy.

Second Half

Gosport started the second half quite strongly. Both teams had a couple of good chances in the first fifteen minutes of the half. I got a hotdog and it was good.

The game was then settled around the 80th minute when the Gosport goalkeeper, Toby Steward, took out Zak Joseph inside the box and he got a red card. Joseph showed pure tenacity to chase down the ball that seemed lost to give Steward no choice but to take him out. This meant that an outfield player (Harvey Rew) had to go in goal as Gosport didn’t have a ‘keeper on the bench.

The penalty was converted by Ricardo German to collect a brace and up his tally for the season to fifteen goals from fifteen games in the league, which includes 3 hattricks so far this season. He went hunting for his fourth, and the game was over for 10-man Gosport Borough.

When German got taken off for Jordan Edwards without his hattrick it was safe to say that he looked quite annoyed, and I don’t blame him.

Ricardo German scores a penalty to make it 2-0 to The Generals

Full Time!

Chesham 2-0 Gosport Borough.

Chesham stay 3rd but close the gap on Gosport to three points and Chesham have a game in hand over them and 1st placed Salisbury.

Player Ratings

My man of the match was Ricardo German due to his two goals and looking dangerous throughout the 2-0 win for the Generals. I also enjoyed watching No. 7, Zak Joseph, the winger who also looked dangerous over the 90 minutes.

The official Chesham United Man of the Match was Harry Rush because he tirelessly worked hard in the centre of midfield.

Oualah 8 , Jones 8 , Duru 8, Rolfe 8, Murphy 8, Brown 8, Rush 8, Upward 8, German 9, Obi 8, Joseph 9

The teams line up before kick off
Kick off at The Meadow

Havant and Waterlooville vs Yeovil Town – 28.8.23

It was my first time at Westleigh Park this season to watch Havant and Waterlooville who are yet to win in their 2023/24 campaign. I wasn’t expecting a win considering the Hawks start to the season. My pre-match prediction was a 2-2 draw even if they were at home.

The Line-Up

How The Hawks lined up…

  1. Worner 3. Innocent 5. McNerney 8. Mehew 9. Kealy 10. Faal 11. Busari 12. Willson 19. Blair 20. Deacon 21. Roberts (Captain)

First Half

The first chance came on six minutes for the home side with captain James Roberts crossing in for Muhammadu Faal, and after taking a touch he blazed the ball over the bar. Faal made up for his mistake two minutes later. From a second Roberts cross, Faal, from near the penalty spot, headed the ball home. 1-0 to the Hawks!

Just 4 minutes later, Kealy finishes off a move and it was 2-0 to Havant. The Hawks were flying.

Roberts looked lively down the left from the start and I could see why he was captain.

On 26 minutes, Yeovil pull one back through Olly Thomas. 2-1 to Havant!

Yeovil brought a good sized crowd with them and were well supported by 658 passionate fans.

Just on the brink of half-time, Jordan Maguire-Drew was bundled over in the box. Maguire-Drew took the penalty and scored. 2-2!

But the first half action wasn’t over there. Another penalty was awarded, this time to the Hawks after five minutes of added time. Faal stepped up and Buse, the Yeovil keeper saves the first attempt but the rebound fell to Faal and he began his hunt for his hattrick. 3-2 to the Hawks at half time!

Faal’s second goal makes it 3-2 to Havant at half time

Second Half

On 51 minutes, Jamie Collins, the Hawks manager, gets sent off after speaking to the linesman. Yeovil spent much of the early part of the second half on top, but it was Havant who had the better chances in the opening exchanges, hitting the bar and the post with two chances in rapid succession.

It was quite scrappy for most of the second half with loads of yellow cards – 8 in total. Eventually, Yeovil did create an opportunity when Rhys Murphy went through on goal and slid the ball across Worner into the far corner. 3-3! This was getting exciting!

But it wasn’t over yet. In the sixth minute of stoppage time, Kealy finished off a smart move. 4-3 to the Hawks and the crowd went wild.

There was still time for a little bit more drama when Charlie Cooper got a second yellow for diving in the box and trying to win a penalty. Yeovil finish the game with ten men!

Speaking after the match, Jamie Collins said, ‘The quality of the goals we scored was superb but I think the grit, determination, desire not to lose, to concede a goal in the 90th minute and to come back and get a winner just shows what the team is about.’

Full Time!

Player Ratings

My man of the match was James Roberts, he was involved in everything good in the first half. He dropped off a bit in the second half though but was still probably the best Havant player. Two goal each for Muhammadu Faal and Callum Kealy was pretty good as well.

Worner 7, Innocent 7, McNerney 8, Mehew 8, Kealy 9, Faal 9, Busari 8, Willson 7, Blair 7, Deacon 7, Roberts 9

Arsenal vs leeds – tom’s match report

We met Gunnersaurus before the match.

We got to meet Gunnersaurus before the game outside of the Armoury. We also said hello to, Arsenal legend, Bob Wilson in the car park before the match. Finally, before going in, we got to see the Rugby League World Cup trophy. The Emirates will be hosted some of the matches later in the year.

Me and my dad with the Rugby League World Cup trophies

The Line-Up

Today Partey and Tierney will probably miss the end of the season with the long term injuries and I will be glad to see them again next season. I did not expect Martinelli to start over Smith Rowe, I thought Marinelli would come on for Emile Smith Rowe in the second half. Also Ben White is out with an injury, but hopefully he is back next week.


Soares Holding Gabriel Tomiyasu

Ødegaard Elneny Xhaka

Saka  Nketiah  Martinelli

First Half

Before kick-off the Arsenal fans got to sing our new anthem, ‘The Angel’ by Louis Dunford. It was really good and should happen at every match. This is what is sounded like from where we were.

Within the first two minutes, Arsenal got a free kick from Saka being fouled. Odegaard whipped the ball in across the penalty area slightly missing one or two diving heads. Three minutes later, Arsenal super striker Nketiah pounced on a heavy touch by Illian Meslier, the young Leeds goalkeeper from France, and Eddie knocked the ball into the back of the net.

Ten minutes gone and Nketiah could not wait for more as Martinelli crossed the ball in and Eddie scored, slotting the ball into the bottom right corner.

Half an hour in and Luke Ayling, the Leeds United right back, got sent off for a ferocious tackle on Gabriel Martinelli, who had been only just able to actually keep the ball in play. The ref gave a yellow to begin with, but VAR made him check it. It did take some time, including a yellow card for Raphinha for protesting about the initial foul being a yellow card instead, but eventually he gave the red.

Arsenal did have some other fabulous chances to score, including two corners. Just before half time, Arsenal had another free kick, Meslier got a hand to the ball as Marcos Llorente bicycle kicked off the line, towards the corner flag.

At Half Time

At half time, the Arsenal 1971 double winning team came out. Players like Charlie George, George Graham, Frank McLintock and Bob Wilson all came out to applause from the crowd. My Grandad was jealous.

The legends of ’71 came out at half time

Second Half

In the 2nd half, Arsenal still had most of the ball but the Leeds fans were really helping to support their team. Leeds could have been able to catch Arsenal on the counter attack. During the first ten to twenty minutes of the second half Arsenal had six corners, four consecutive, two afterwards.

Sixty-six minutes in, Leeds had their 1st corner, whipped into the back post. Llorente slides downward tucks the ball under Aaron Ramsdale to score. Completely against the run of play. Arsenal were a bit nervy at times after that with Leeds on the attack. Ramsdale had to make some amazing saves to keep Arsenal ahead. Arsenal did have some more attempts though.

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Eddie Nketiah because of his cheekiness to sneak up on Meslier to score his first goal and class to score his second.

Ramsdale – 7

Soares 5 Holding – 7 Gabriel – 7 Tomiyasu – 8

Ødegaard – 8 Elneny – 8 Xhaka – 7

Saka – 8  Nketiah – 9  Martinelli – 8

Arsenal are now four points ahead of fifth placed Spurs, with the North London derby on Thursday. We’re also a point behind third place Chelsea, so Arsenal might snatch third place!

Read my other match reports and review here.

Arsenal v Leicester – Tom’s Match Report

Before the game I was lucky to meet Freddie Ljungberg and Robert Pires, two of Arsenal’s legendary ‘Invincibles’.

The Line-Up`

Smith Rowe had been out with Covid last week and was back on the bench, so Martinelli kept his place on the left. Tomiyasu still isn’t fit so Cedric Soares started at right back.


Soares White Gabriel Tierney

Ødegaard Thomas Xhaka

Saka Lacazette Martinelli

First Half

Arsenal started very brightly, Martinelli looking lively down the left wing and Cedric Soares putting crosses in the box from the right hand side of the pitch. Arsenal had some penalty shouts turned down by the referee and some great chances to score a goal. After Arsenal won a corner from a deflected Tierney cross, Thomas Partey scored a bullet header from a brilliant Martinelli corner. Partey had another chance to score but the ball hit the post.

Leicester built pressure over the rest of the first half but Arsenal stayed on top helped by Ben White, Gabriel Magalhaes and Thomas Partey all playing a part. Aaron Ramsdale also made incredible saves in the Arsenal goal.

Second Half

In the second half, Arsenal continued to be the better team having a few more chances to score a goal. Arsenal then had a brilliant chance to score from a swung in Ødegaard freekick with Ben White heading the ball onto the grass and Partey then using his head to direct the ball onto the goal line. During the freekick, the ball hit Söyüncü’s hand in the penalty area. After a five minute VAR check, referee Anthony Taylor was called to the monitor to check if it was a penalty. Eventually, he gave it and Alexandre Lacazette scored. Lacazette scores the penalty to make it 2 – 0. Arsenal controlled the rest of the match well and Arteta used all of the three substitutes bringing on Smith Rowe, Nketiah and Pepe.

Arsenal are now in fourth place in the Premier League table on fifty-one points with three games in hand over fifth placed Manchester United, on fifty points. Hopefully, Arsenal get to play in the Champions League next season!

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Thomas Partey because he was all over the pitch and scored a great goal. Odegaard, Saka and Martinelli were all really good as well.

Ramsdale – 7

Soares – 7 White – 7 Gabriel – 7 Tierney – 7

Ødegaard – 8 Thomas – 9 Xhaka – 8

Saka – 8 Lacazette – 7 Martinelli – 8

Right at the end I got to meet Alan Smith. He is a Sky Sports commentator and used to play for Arsenal.

Accessing Arsenal

Being the parents to a boy with cerebral palsy, we are well versed in making arrangements ahead of visiting any establishment that we’ve not been to before. We try and give our son a rich and varied range of experiences, but we’d not been anywhere with a crowd of 60,000 people with him before, so out first trip to the Emirates Stadium was always going to pose a challenge. On Saturday 19th February, for the game against Brentford, we made the dream of seeing Arsenal play live at the Emirates Stadium a reality.

Tom is 8 years old and uses a Kaye Walker to assist his mobility. He’s been an Arsenal fan all of his life as he comes from a line of Gooners and is a passionate and knowledgeable football supporter in general. For one reason or another we’d previously watched matches together at the homes of Plymouth Argyle, Portsmouth and Havant and Waterlooville, but this trip was on a whole other level.

Booking the tickets

In order to get tickets to watch Arsenal you need to be a member. Adults need to be at least Red Members and children need to be Junior Gunners. We signed him up as a JG and when his membership card finally arrived we called to book some tickets. I spent a lot of time on hold and spoke to a few different people. Everyone I spoke to in the hour long (lots of time on hold/waiting) phone call was very friendly and wanted to help. The trouble was, they all told me slightly different things. The (very) long and the short of it was that he had the wrong kind of Junior Gunners membership. He was meant to have a Purple one. Purple membership is for disabled supporters. It couldn’t just be transferred though, we had to fill in some forms and provide evidence. No problem, just a little time consuming. Sadly though, these took another month+ to be verified, so more games missed. It was only when I chased it up that they then asked me for the information that I’d sent the previous month, so I forwarded them the same email, to the same address. They apologised and everything was approved pretty quickly.

It was at this point that Jacqueline from the disability team got involved. She emailed a few times and asked and answered a whole load of questions. Finally, she called me to book the tickets to make sure everything was exactly how we needed. She was/is great and a real asset to Arsenal Football Club.


One of the really important things that are offered to disabled members that need it, is the opportunity to park at the stadium. This was crucial in making this whole experience possible because if we had to go on the Tube it would have been considerably more challenging.

I’d read that I had to arrive before 2pm (3pm kick off) because of road closures and the like. As it was the boy’s first game, we wanted to get there early to have a look around and get some food. So we arrived at midday. It turns out we weren’t allowed in until 12:30pm because we’re not diamond members. So we waited. In the car. Looking at the crowd building.

We were waved through at 12:30pm and the man outside the entrance asked to see our tickets, he asked if we were going straight up or leaving the stadium. I explained that we wanted to visit the shop and see the statues so he said he wouldn’t scan the tickets or we wouldn’t be able to get back in. Helpful.

We drove though and found the area we were meant to park. Once we’d sorted ourselves out, we found the nearest member of staff and asked how we get out. He searched our bag, put a tag on it and told us to take a lift upstairs. He was a kind and friendly man, but his advice turned out to not be the most helpful.

Taking the lift up to the ground floor, we found ourselves in a stadium that was not yet open to the public and no way of getting out. I asked how we get out and was repeatedly told that, ‘once you’re in, you’re in.’ Not ideal as that meant we wouldn’t see the stadium from the outside. Wouldn’t see the statues. Wouldn’t see the Armoury. Wouldn’t drink in the pre-game atmosphere.

One member of staff took pity on us and tried to help. He spent a few minutes on a red phone talking to someone (security HQ maybe or possibly Batman) and eventually he came up with a plan. I asked why we couldn’t just go out of the the fire exit, he said, ‘you just can’t, don’t ask why’. We both laughed. Then he found someone with a special pass/key/clearance who opened an airlock for us, which released us outside. It was absolutely pissing it down. I suspect security protocols were broken for our benefit, so that was nice, but it would have been better if there was just a simple way to leave the carpark and the staff in the carpark knew what it was.

The Armoury

We ate a phenomenal pizza at Mamma Mia’s Pizzeria on Hornsey road and then headed to the shop. Busy, tight spaces are always a challenge for us, but once people clock Tom’s walker, they generally give him space. The club shop (the Armoury) an hour before kick off is always going to be busy and challenging, but it’s an important part of part of the match day experience for anyone, let alone an 8 year old at his first game, so it had to be done.

We had two objectives. Tom needed a scarf and some dry socks – it really was very wet outside. The scarf bit was easy, they are all over the shop. Socks were a bit more tricky. We asked a member of staff, he said, ‘they are down that way I think’. The next member of staff said, ‘I don’t think we do them.’ The third guy said, ‘I think they are this way, follow me.’ We found some socks. Guy number 3 rocks – when you need socks.

There was a massive queue, which was well managed. We joined the back of the queue and within a few seconds we were approached by a member of staff who invited us to follow her as, she explained that, we had ‘priority’. She led us a little way up the queue, but we were actually keen to see the merchandise that was on offer through the rest of the shop that you pass in the queue. Consequently, to her surprise, we declined the queue-jump option and lined up with everyone else. She said, ‘ok, but I’m around, so if you need me, let me know.’ A lovely and extremely helpful lady. We eventually got to the till and paid and were given a free copy of Ray Parlour’s book. Happy days.

Entering the ground

This bit was pretty simple. We went to join the line but one of the stewards spotted us quickly and ushered us to the airlock entrance. My printed ticket and iPhone wallet ticket didn’t scan properly on the door scanner, so they checked out our tickets and then just opened the airlock and let us in. Helpful people who looked after us quickly.

Finding our seats

Pretty straightforward. The entrance to Block 7 is just opposite where we get into the stadium. That’s probably why we went in that way. The steward at the top of the steps helped us to locate our seats. The disabled viewing area is up 3 short steps, not ideal, but not a massive problem. I helped Tom up and then went back for his walker. We took a seat and changed Tom’s socks for the new dry ones. The area we were located in was pretty good. Great view of the pitch, a few additional screens because we can’t see the big screens higher up in the stadium and a really good atmosphere because it was at the back of the North Bank lower tier.

Other members that were on the viewing platform with us were in wheelchairs, and it was clear they hadn’t come up the 3 steps that we had navigated. They had clearly come in through Block 8, where the ramp to the platform is located. It would probably make sense for all members that are using the platform (aka Row 29) to come in through Block 8. Not a massive problem, but it would have been just that little bit easier for us. We’ll know for next time.

The game

Brilliant. We were absolutely part of the amazing atmosphere within the North Bank and we loved every minute of it – apart from some dubious refereeing decisions. Tom’s Match Report can be found here. We chose to stay in our seats during half time because neither of us needed the toilet and I wasn’t keen to leave Tom on his own while I queued for the refreshments, so we didn’t get any. No biggy, we came prepared, but maybe we’ll try it next time to get the full experience and see how it goes.


We stayed in our seats and waited for the stadium to empty a bit. We knew there was no rush because the cars weren’t going to be released until around 45 minutes after the game finished. After we’d sung that song about Saka and Emile Smith Rowe a bunch of times, we headed downstairs.

As promised, when the roads outside began to clear, the carpark was opened and we were free to join the traffic jam of North London and begin to make our way home.


Consistently, the numerous staff members that we encountered before and during our time at Arsenal professional, friendly and keen to help. The tricky part was that, while they wanted to help, they didn’t all know the procedures they and us were meant to follow. This led to a few complications and some frustrations, but nothing that took away the magic of standing on the North Bank with my son when Emile Smith Rowe and Bukayo Saka scored their goals. The fact that they all wanted to help and do what they thought was best, is certainly all I can really ask. I know our requirements are pretty unique and I don’t expect every member of staff to be fully versed on every possible eventuality. When we found the right people, we were brilliantly looked after.

My hope in writing this blog is that someone at Arsenal sees it and gets an understanding of the match day experience of one of their disabled members. I’d also like it if those in senior management got to hear how wonderful their teams are across many departments are, but particularly Jacqueline the Disability Liaison Officer. She liaised brilliantly.

It’s safe to say Tom had what he described as, ‘the best day of my life’. You can read his Match Report here and see how he got on in this TikTok video.

Arsenal v Brentford – Tom’s Match Report

My dad and me at our first Arsenal matches

My dad’s first Arsenal match was on the 27th October 1990 versus Sunderland and 31 and a half years later, it was my turn. I’ve supported Arsenal all of my life but on 19th February 2022 I got to see them live at the Emirates for the first time, versus Brentford.

The Line-Up

I was happy with formation but it would have been good to have Takehiro Tomiyasu at right back instead of Cedric Soares. Soares did well in the end though.


Soares White Gabriel Tierney

Thomas Xhaka

Saka Odegaard Smith Rowe


First Half

Arsenal had some good chances and scored an early goal, but sadly VAR said it was offside. This was annoying. We also had a few penalty shouts turned down by the referee and we still don’t know why. 🤷‍♂️

Overall, Arsenal were definitely the better team in the first half and unlucky not to score at least two goals before half time.

Second Half

In the second half, Arsenal scored two goals and had chances to score more. The first goal was scored by Emile Smith Rowe as he cut in from the wing using incredible control. Despite David Raya getting his fingertips to the ball, it nestled into the bottom right hand corner.

The second goal was scored by Bukayo Saka, who started the move off in his own half, feeding the ball forward to Lacazette who then passed to Thomas Partey as Saka carried on his quick sprint down the pitch. After striding forward into the Brentford half, Partey released the ball forward towards Saka who finished off the move with gentle control and ended the run of passes with a fantastic finish in-off the far post.

Arsenal players and fans celebrate Bukayo Saka’s goal to make it 2-0

Another highlight of the exciting second half was Odegaard’s outrageous dummy. Soares played the ball to him on the right side of the field and he pretended to smash it. Instead, he let the ball go underneath his foot and let it roll through to Saka so he started another attack.

In extra time in the second half, Brentford scored within the final few seconds with Christian Norgaard basically passing into the net.

The final score was 2-1 to Arsenal and we’ll be back at the Emirates for the game against Leicester in a few weeks.

Player Ratings

My Man of the Match was Emile Smith Rowe because he was great on the wing and his goal was really good. Although, the ‘keeper should really have saved it.

Ramsdale – 6

Soares – 6 White – 6 Gabriel – 7 Tierney – 7

Thomas – 6 Xhaka – 6

Saka – 8 Odegaard – 8 Smith Rowe – 9

Lacazette – 6

Here is my TikTok of our trip to the Emirates.

And another of the amazing Saka and Emile Smith Rowe song.