A guest post by Georgaki and Sensational Arsenal.Thanks boys.
In Chesterfield (GP):
When I was at university I enjoyed switching the radio on at midnight after a period of study to listen to the jingle for a Greek station. Barely discernable above the crackle of the interference I would hear the gentle, distant sound of goat bells followed by the smooth sound of a shepherd’s flute. I found that tune particularly intriguing. I was transported to another world, a distant place, somewhere in the ether yet I was still in my room. In my mind’s eye I could not discern the face of the shepherd although I knew he had a sheepskin capote draped over his shoulders. He was standing on a rocky outcrop on a mountain somewhere in Hellas as he was rounding up his flock. I found that to be a particularly beautiful image.
Then a voice would announce the name of the station, the time and the reach of the radio service. I was excited at the thought that folk in ‘Panama’ might well be listening and having similar thoughts to mine. To be somehow in contact, at that instant, with people on the other side of the earth was such an exciting concept. I had not yet heard the term ‘global village’, this was afterall the early eighties; the age of the World Wide Web was a least and decade and some, years away.
So, it was entirely understandable that my sense of excitement was rekindled when Sensational Arsenal decided to encourage and develop my idea of a ‘virtual Emirates’. This idea, in turn, was stimulated by Arsenal Andrew’s inspiring post about the beauty of Arsenal’s global fan base. For me that was a seminal post which underlined the global appeal of Arsenal which, in my opinion, is overwhelmingly due to the wonderful football played and therefore ultimately because of Arsene Wenger.
So we decided to install the google hangouts app, exchange gmail addresses and watch a game together. That first game we watched was the first leg against Fenerbahce. It was a very exciting event. I placed my iPad on a stand and set it up on a coffee table facing me as I sat on my sofa to watch the game on the TV. The idea was that SA could see me as I watched the game and hopefully see me scream with joy when we scored. And that is how it happened. The handset icon appeared on my iPad monitor as SA was dialling in. I accepted the call and after a second or two, there he was, SA smiling at me whilst sitting in his home in Chennai, India. The marvels of technology indeed!
We had a brief chat, I introduced my wife, son and one of my daughters and we sat down for the game. It was a great game too. We played well and SA had to contend with a 10 second delay on his TV. I made all sorts of noise in response to incidents in the game that he would see 10 seconds later. At least he would be relieved that the biggest noise was because we scored.
We managed to persuade Pedantic George to join us for a game, I believe it was the away game at Fulham. PG’s computer must be a relic because he could see us but we couldn’t see him, only hear him. Maybe we should have a wip round and get him an iPad!
Watching games in our ‘virtual Ashburton Grove’ is a wonderful experience. Others have expressed an interest to join us. We hope they do soon. Come on you Gunners!
In Chennai (SA):
One of the first things I think about after waking up in the morning is, “Match day!” There is a small nice feeling associated with that thought.
Then, as I have my breakfast, I read the comments posted overnight on Positively Arsenal. Then it is down to doing my day, doing things I should do and doing things I shouldnt do.
Sometimes when I go out to do some chores on a matchday, I see some football shirts. The common ones here are Manure’s picnic blankets with Rooney, Barcelona’s with Song (hehe. Just kidding) and some Chelsea shirts with Hazard. Occasionally I see our shirt. Surprisingly, the most popular one is Arshavin, followed by Wilshere. Yet to see a Rosicky shirt. Idiots.
Since this is India, you see all sorts of fakes that are dirt cheap. Artistic license is also freely used. I have seen our club crest on all sorts of colourful designs. Did you know that we have a red shirt with two white and purple diagonal stripes?
Personally, I dont like wearing our club shirt because I dont want to go around advertising “Fly Emirates”. So hopefully, one day when I attend my first game at the Arsene Wenger Stadium/Ashburton Grove, I will be wearing that 1970’s red and white shirt (cotton please, no synthetic shit) with just a cannon above my heart.
If the match is at 3 PM, it is at 8.30 PM my time. Then I time my chores such that I am sitting on my sofa comfortably at 8.30. I consciously avoid being early to avoid the bullshit spouted in the match preview on TV. Of course the best laid plans have a way of blowing up in your face. Right at 8.30, someone in the family will decide that they want something from the shop round the corner.
On champions league nights, the match starts at 1.15 AM my time and ends at 3.15 AM. If I stay up, I start getting sleepy right before kickoff. So I go to bed at 11 and set the alarm for 1.05 AM. I freshen up and sit in front of the TV at 1.15AM. Usually Georgaki joins me on Google Hangouts. We discuss recent Arsenal results and then it is onto the match. It is great watching the match with a fellow supporter who is of a similar mindset. Sharing the oohs and the aahhs makes the game all the more enjoyable.
There is an unique aspect to our online video call. My TV has a 10+ second delay over Georgaki’s TV because he is in the UK. So initially, when we started this, there were moments Arsenal were defending and Georgaki would be shouting and celebrating our goal. Nowadays, I am happy to hear his shouting. Then, I mentally block everything from his side (sorry mate) and focus on our play. 10 seconds later, we are celebrating together, high-fiving the air and saying a lot of “YEAH!!!” and “YESSSS!!!”.
A goal conceded sees our spirits dampened. A loss sees the both of us flopped on our sofas with folded arms. Victory sees us with permanent fixed smiles.
After the final whistle, we discuss the game a little and then I go and resume my sleep.
I understand how you would want to watch each second of the game as it happens. I like that too. However, do join us on times when you are in the mood to watch a game with us for company