Posted originally on Goonersphere.
Young Freddie was six, and had one wish for his seventh birthday.
His dad had named him after a famous footballer, but Freddie had so far resisted all attempts to start following football. He was too busy playing with his friends and all that came with being a kid. Football was something some of his friends did, but it hadn’t grabbed him.
Watching his dad, his hero, watching Arsenal on TV, had drawn him in, and he sat down to watch what the fuss was about, and that was it. He was hooked.
That was five months ago and since then, it was all about Arsenal. For his birthday, he wanted nothing more than to become a fully-fledged Junior Gunner. He wanted to be a part of the club and carry around his membership card to show his mates.
On the morning of his birthday, he had excitedly ripped open all of his presents, but the last one, inconspicuous in its size, held his wish inside.
After he had frantically ripped the Arsenal wrapping paper, the membership box came into his view. Emblazoned on the front was an assembly of the current players, sprinkled with a few past greats that he had yet to become aware of. His dad would amend that soon enough.
First things first though, he wanted to open the box. He wanted to see his name on the membership card. He wanted a Gunnersaurus to be his bedtime companion. Freddie opened the box and sitting on the top of the contents he so desired, was a sheet of A4 paper. It had words on and looked important, so his first reaction was to give it to his dad.
Freddie’s dad took the sheet and let his eyes skim over the words, and before Freddie could get his hands on the contents inside the box, his dad stopped him and said, “I’ve got to read this to you son. Before you get too attached.”
Dear Junior Gunner,
We at Arsenal Football Club are delighted that you have chosen this wonderful team to support. Arsenal have been entertaining their fans since 1886, and you are the next step in what promises to be an exciting and amazing step into the future.
Being a Gooner is not just a choice you make. It is a decision that stands with you for the rest of your life. It will define certain things you do and say, and will shape the relationships you build along the way. No matter where you go, you will carry the cannon with you.
This is why this warning is included in every Junior Gunners Membership pack. We have struggled to match the success of seasons past, and in spells in our history we have done so too. Football is not just trophies and glory. When you choose a club to support, you tie yourself to the good times and the bad.
You will have some days ruined when we lose. Your mood will darken and lighten at the kick of a ball. You will be at the mercy of your team and the results they earn. There will be moments that you will never forget, and times when you wish you could forget. You must make this decision with all of this in mind.
You offer your support to this team even in the toughest of times, that is the nature of a supporter. This first step of becoming a member of the club means that you are a Gooner for life. This is a massive commitment.
Dear new supporter, you have some fantastic memories waiting for you in the future. We at Arsenal will be with you every step of the way. We value your support.
Freddie sat looking at his dad, with his new Arsenal scarf wrapped around his neck.
He had already made his choice.