The Crowd Is Roaring

Your choices are half chance, so are everybody else’s. A line from the hypothetical commencement speech, “Advice, like youth, probably just wasted on the young”. You may know it better as the Baz Luhrman song, “Everybody’s Free to Wear Sunscreen“. This line resided with me this week in particular when I was thankful for many of the decisions I had made many years previously.

As usual this story begins on social media. I saw a post from Amy Lawrence, whom I follow on Twitter and listen to regularly as she is often a guest on the ArseCast. She was hosting an event for The Guardian in Central London next month featuring a Q&A with a former Arsenal legend. I discussed this with my colleagues and swiftly booked tickets. The plan was set to work in our London office in Cornhill during the day and then swing by to The Guildhall, which was conveniently a mere fifteen minute walk up the road.

We got there early, collected our books from the first floor and headed into the auditorium. It had been worth the effort of nagging my colleague to leave the office promptly at 6pm to ensure we arrived in plenty of time. We were in the fourth row, before the auditorium filled up and the few free seats were in the upper tiers. Excellent work all round!

People can let fame change them. It happens all the time. Some people feel they are better than the rest of us, just because they happen to be lucky enough to have been talented and in the right place at the right time to capitalise on that talent. Ian Wright is not one of those people. He has remained truly grounded to the life and people that knew him before he broke into professional football at the tender age of 22. His book is dedicated to his teacher, a touching sentiment which he went to length to explain at the start of the talk. There were funny antidotes on Rocastle, Bergkamp and Wenger. To his breakthrough at Palace, to that FA Cup Final, to moving over to North London from South and meeting up for his first England training session. A fabulous insight into the colourful life of one of English football’s lovable rogues. I cannot wait to read the autobiography, it just behind Romford Pele’s book.

I love London but living now in Bracknell means an hour train journey home. From Slough I could be in the centre of our great capital within twenty minutes. (Once Crossrail goes live, even less than that) If you timed it right from Paddington you could be back in Slough within less than 30 minutes. From Waterloo trains home are every thirty minutes, so miss one as I did, meant a long wait on the platform concourse. I finally got home close to 1am. Was it worth it? Of course – it is not every day you get to meet and greet one your childhood heroes. “The crowd is roaring, Ian Wright scoring” lyrics from the ASWAD song Shine. Perfectly describing how I felt after an hour in the presence of the Arsenal striker and the total gent went on to sign autographs way passed his agreed departure time of 9:30pm. His brief words to me, will remain with me forever. “David Rocastle always used to say to me, that it is always about the fans…” Never a truer statement was made.

Ian Wright & Teg

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