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That's me

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My name is Simon and I'm a 35 year old lifelong Arsenal Fan and Shirt Collector from Germany. On this page I want to share my personal Arsenal story and how i became a die-hard Arsenal fan and a passionate Arsenal Shirt collector

My Arsenal Story

My personal Arsenal story probably started a little differently to most Arsenal fans. As a young boy from Germany, I was mainly interested in the Bundesliga back then. I didn't follow foreign leagues, as there were no live broadcasts of these leagues on German television in the 90s.

In addition to the Bundesliga, I also followed games of the national teams. Not the German national team, though, but the Dutch, which was very unusual for a German boy. Especially because there had always been a rivalry between these two nations in football. At that time, however, the decisive factor for me was not so much which nation the team came from, but which football they played. That was the reason why I was a fan of the Dutch national team. Their short passing game in the classic 4-3-3 was simply beautiful to watch.

 

Moreover, the Dutch had some world-class players in their ranks in the 90s. Bergkamp, Seedorf, Kluivert, Overmars, Davids etc. to name but a few. My absolute favourite player and my idol back then was Dennis Bergkamp. I played football myself and always wanted to be able to play like him. At the 1998 World Cup, the first World Cup I consciously watched on television, he played outstandingly. His goal in the round of 16 against Argentina is still one of the best goals of all time for me!


But how did I end up at Arsenal FC? Precisely through Dennis Bergkamp. Having only followed him in the national team so far, I wanted to know which club he plays for and came across the Gunners. Unfortunately, it wasn't really possible to follow the Premier League in Germany back then. All I could do was read articles in sports or daily newspapers or check the results on teletext. At the beginning of the 2000s, you could at least watch summaries of some Premier League matches on a German sports TV channel called DSF. The highlight show always came on late on Monday evenings, but that didn't stop me from watching it, even if I had to go to school early the next morning.

From that point on, I became a die-hard Arsenal fan and bought my first Arsenal shirt shortly afterwards. I earned the money for it as a 13-year-old by delivering newspapers because it was the only job you could do at that age. In the summer of 2002, I ordered the 02/03 home shirt from a big sports shop in Berlin over the phone. Unfortunately, there were no websites like today where you can buy shirts from all over the world. When the shirt arrived I was really happy and wanted to have it printed in a local sports shop. I decided on Henry 14 as the nameset. The shop employee said that they didn't have the official Premier League namesets but would try to get as close to the original as possible. When I picked up the shirt again, I was very disappointed as the nameset didn't even come close to looking like the original. But I still wore the shirt proudly to every training session. From then on, I always bought Arsenal shirts directly with the official nameset to avoid another disappointment.

In the years that followed, I always bought a new Arsenal shirt every two years or so with the aim of wearing it to football training. Like many other collectors, the decision to build up a shirt collection was made during Covid. I was at home a lot and didn't know what to do. One day I dug all my Arsenal shirts out of my wardrobe and realised that I already had about 20 different shirts. My wife then gave me the idea that I could set up a shirt room in my office at home, which I did. I also created a spreadsheet in which I listed all my shirts. Since then I added over 250 shirts to my collection. I now have 5 rails in my room to hang up all my shirts. 


In 2022 I also created an Instagram account, actually for myself, to document my collection with photos. I never thought I'd have over 1000 followers, but I currently have around 1200. The best thing about it is that I've also met so many other new collectors, some of whom have become friends. 
The decision to collect Arsenal shirts was one of the best of my life, even if my bank account has to suffer a lot ;-)

 

Cheers,
Simon

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