Sat high up in the North Bank, where the banging of fist and sheet metal meet in rhythmic fashion, I looked upon our carpet and soaked in the moment.
How may Gooners are there out there – and what proportion get to come to the home of the club they adore – especially with any sort of regularity?
I tried to appreciate my luck. And as kickoff approached, I also noticed the atmosphere.
The Emirates has been quiet at times over the years – far from the erroneous tag of ‘The Library’ that our home crowd has been falsely given over the years, but still not reaching raucous levels frequently.
But Mikel Arteta’s team has changed something.
The feeling of alignment is there. That we are backing the Spaniard and his team of plucky youngsters. The fact that Hale End graduates are the stars of the show also helps.
Arteta is pushing a cause, an ethos. Fans are starting songs and most importantly, they are being picked up by those around and these songs then reverberate around the ground.
And like it or not, Louis Dunford’s melancholic tune ‘The Angel’ raised goosebumps. It was haunting, but invigorating. It made you want to shout so loud for the boys on the pitch that your throat would bleed.
Perhaps dramatic, but you get the picture. The song was finally the thing we’ve been looking for in the ground. Sweet Caroline? No thanks. London Calling is a banger but it never felt like it was ours.
The Angel is our tune.
Some say it’s a derivative from Anfield’s famous ‘You’ll never walk alone’ tune before kickoff.
And so what if it is?
It isn’t of course. Liverpool have zero rights to have a song sung before the game that ensures fans are the 12th man during the game.
The song is about North London. OUR North London. And the emotion carried through every note and word is the same as every chant and bona fide supporter of the club.
I don’t really like the entire song. It’s a bit downbeat for my tastes, but that chorus? In The Emirates?
It’s stirring stuff.
And our fanbase is as united as it has ever been. That is largely down to Arteta, his acquisitions and the youthful vibe of the squad of course, but The Angel is a watershed moment.
Or at least it feels like it.
It’s when us fans have finally had something to get behind. To believe in. We have always supported – but we can see those promising shoots of growth. Of something special forming under the watchful eye of Mikel.
It’s no coincidence the most sung song right now is “We’ve got super Mik Arteta.”
We’re on the up, the crowd is going bananas and we’re making The Emirates sound like the fortress it always should have been.
Of course Highbury is our spiritual home, but we now have a home that at least does justice to our club, in terms of support.
Let’s keep it up. These are exciting times. And The Angel will only help make that feeling grow.