...in the bottom drawer
I knew I'd lose it so I put it in a safe place, and now I can't remember where it is.

currently stashed in: Cheshire Street, London
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November 03, 2005 || 10:16 am
The marble halls of Highbury

Last night I had the inestimable honour of sitting in the front row of the directors' box at Highbury watching the mighty Arsenal thoroughly trounce Sparta Prague. Despite my jetlag and a rather late bout of Delhi belly meaning that my consumption of the buffet dinner and drinks in the boardroom was rather limited, it was a rather ridiculously exciting experience. One enters the stadium through the crowd control barriers at the point marked 'VIPs only'! Walking in the marble halls and up the stairs to the oak-panelled boardroom, past amazing pieces of memorabilia, including an extraordinary photograph of the first flood-lit match at the ground in 1951, when of course the whole ground was still terraces (holding at least twice as many spectators as now) and the lights reveal this mass of North London humanity in moody, misty black and white, like some kind of political rally.

Then up, past rather classically obsequious cockney stewards (alright, guv!) in their old-school uniforms, into the boardroom for pre-match drinks surrounded by suits and blonde women (not all with their natural facial features, it has to be said) and then out into (I couldn't believe it!) the front row, dead centre, of the directors box. The view is incredible - every player and the ball crisp against the perfect green turf, and right below, the top of Arsene Wenger's head. You can hear every word he or Pat Rice shouts. I was even offered a blanket in case I was chilly.

Of course the game was fantastic - everything you might want. An amazing Henry goal, a brace from van Persie, only Reyes seemed to make continual errors, getting himself into situations he couldn't see a way out of and giving the ball away too often. It's bad form to shout or anything in the directors' box, of course, so I had to be restrained by the boy (sitting next to me in a suit and tie, the first time I've actually seen him in such a get-up). But altogether an amazing experience and a great honour. And I've been told that our season tickets for the new stadium (hee hee!) are going to be in a comparable position - I can't wait. Meanwhile, we're back in the North Bank at the weekend...



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