Not everyone likes football. As a matter of fact, I hardly ever watch it these days and I’m
too old to play it. Nevertheless, it was a big part of my childhood years growing up in London.
I started to watch professional football when I was 14, but my parents wouldn’t let me go
to see my favourite team, Arsenal, because it was too far on the train. So I spent my first
season watching our local team, Leyton Orient with my best friend Graham.
The matches were boring, but we usually jumped over the barriers and ran onto the pitch at
the end of the game, and this excitement was worth the trip to see them.
At 15 I was allowed to go on the train to see Arsenal play and suddenly football became
more exciting, and more dangerous.
Graham and I were attacked on the train by West Ham supporters and fights regularly broke
out in the area of the stadium where we stood. I remember running away many times as
bottles and glasses flew past my head, missing me by inches.
Graham wasn’t so lucky. One Saturday, a particularly bad fight broke out very near us and he
suffered a broken arm. We were back in the same place two weeks later, though. And Graham
was there using his plastered arm to defend himself against the flying bottles.
It’s hard to believe that there was so much violence and danger around us as we were singing
and watching our favourite players. My dad must have realized eventually, and he bought two
season tickets so that we could watch every Arsenal home game from the safety of the seats.

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