OA – I’m Okunola Ouwatobiloba. 19. Chemistry student in university in Osun State, although home is Lagos State. Crazy Arsenal fan. I have been following football since age five( that’s the earliest I can remember). Chiefly due the fact that my dad follows football too, which meant that we watched football matches together. Can remember watching the (Euro 2000 semis) Netherlands lost out on penalties to Italy. Holland lost despite playing with a one man advantage for most part of the match. The failed to convert the two penalties that they were awarded during regular time too. Patrick Kluivert et al. What a match that was.
GD66 – The initial swell of support for Arsenal in Nigeria is always attributed to Kanu’s arrival at Highbury. Do you believe that to be the case and are there any current Nigerian youngsters you think Arsenal should be interested in now Chuks has left?
OA – Sadly, I wasn’t fortunate enough to watch Kanu play live as an Arsenal player. However, it’s quite easy see why he’s the reason most Nigerians support Arsenal till today. I am very sad that Chuks couldn’t make it at Arsenal. I’ve always thought at worst, he’d make the first team squad due to the promise he commanded then and his versatility. I wish him luck in his next challenge.But then we still have a Nigerian in the academy in Alex Iwobi. He recently signed his first pro contract and hopefully he makes it Arsenal.
Beside him, if there’s any Nigerian youngster I’d want Arsenal to be interested in, he has to be Manchester City’s Kelechi Ihenacho.Blessed with technique and skills beyond his age, he’s undoubtedly the contry’s brightest talent at U20 level. That’s a name Wenger and the rest of the World should definitely watch out for.
OA -Until 2006, I was watched every football match I was fortunate to set my eyes on – mainly champions League matches and major tournaments. But I’d been an Henry fan since as long as I can remember, because my dad was a fan too. It was easy to support Arsenal during the 2006 CL campaign. Albeit Arsenal would go ahead and lose the final to Barca, Henry leaving after that, I made up my mind to continue supporting the Arsenal. Till today, my support has been unflinching. You can say through ” Thick and Thin”, and I’m really looking forward to the upcoming seasons.
With our renewed financial firepower, the British Core and the promise of needed signings, it’s not hard not to be excited.
GD66 – I note there is a sanctioned fan club there https://www.facebook.com/pages/Arsenal-Supporters-Club-Nigeria-The-Official-Arsenal-Supporters-Club/496227380087 Are you involved with them?
OA – No
GD66 – If so do they organise gatherings to watch games with like minded fans or do you have your own group of Gunners where you live? Perhaps describe you match day experience or rituals?
OA – I am sure they do Dave and hundreds of Fans here gather to watch matches. I watch Arsenal matches with mates at the school common room. The Emirates match day is still dream at the moment. Certainly on my list of priorities as soon as I can afford it.
GD66 – I assume Arsenal are the best supported Premiership side by far. Which other sides have a following?
OA – Yes we are. However, Chelsea and Manchester United aren’t far behind. Probably due to recent success. Other clubs are catching up real quick with us Gooners but I hope last season and future success for Arsenal will inspire the next wave of Gooners!
GD66 – Has twitter enhanced the feeling of being part of something much bigger? A family? Have you made friends through Arsenal twitter who have become true friends in real life?
GD66 – Do you have a favourite Arsenal match and perhaps a favourite player past of present?
OA – The 2-0 win at the San Siro against Milan is one I won’t forget in a hurry. After playing a bore draw at the Emirates earlier it was a near impossible mission to get a draw, say less a win at the sansiro against the defending champions. I went bonkers after Cesc scored that stunner and consequently I didn’t watch the rest of the match, missing Adebayor’s goal in the process. I lost my voice as a result of shouting and yelling after the victory, it was almost as if we’d won the champions League. The boss feeling in school the next day was priceless. Confidently yelled(with the little voice I had left) at any rival fan I came across, “Your team never won at the San Siro, we winning the Champions League this Year”. Can’t remember ever been that happy after an Arsenal win.
Cesc was my favorite Arsenal player for obvious reasons, He was the star man when I started supporting Arsenal. Too bad he’s joined the the blue half of London now. He was pure joy to watch back then. I called him “Fabrepass” then. I don’t anymore because he’s no more an Arsenal player.
Favorite Arsenal player is Aaron Ramsey. What a gem he’s becoming. Many would argue that we would have won the league had he not been out for the better part of the Season. I can’t blame them as his form before the injury was absolutely phenomenal. Not only was he scoring important goals, he was creating for others. We were on roll largely due to his excellent form which became even more obvious when he came back for the last few games of the season. For someone someone who watched him pre-stoke, and when he through those patchy times after the injury, it’s absolute joy to see Wenger’s faith in him finally paying off.
GD66 – Lastly who are the player or players you would like to see arrive this summer and what are your aspirations for Arsenal 2014/15?
OA – ALEXIS SÁNCHEZ would be a dream signing. He’s kinda the epitome of what we’re lacking upfront. Pace, power, unlimited skills and pace again. Not only will it(if it happens) represent the second marque signing in two years, it will send a statement of intent to our rivals. I’m not sure the (fabled) defensive midfilder is much of a need as people make it out to be. An upgrade will certainly be welcomed, but we can make do with what we have for next season at least. I’m sure Wenger’s got the RB and second Gk positions covered.
Of course I’d want us to compete on all fronts next season, the CL especially. That would be an icing on Wenger’s glamorous Arsenal career. I believe if we make the needed signings, and we’re lucky with injuries, it’s within our reach.
My thanks to Okunola for sharing hiss passion for Arsenal from Nigeria. He is a great guy so please follow him @tibexay
Agree/disagree? Leave a comment below or follow me or comment on this blog on Twitter – http://twitter.com/goonerdave66