by Rex Halahana
I am a life long Arsenal fan and as the new season kicks off and excitement builds I started thinking to myself; Why am I so connected to this club and the players?I have never met any Arsenal players or staff, yet we have an unspoken bond, a bond that is shared by millions of other football fans all over the world.
The countries and the teams may change but the fanatical following stays the same. We share in the their elation and we feel their pain. Over the past year or so I have started to collect certain items related to Arsenal Football Club. I have a couple of signed shirts, an autographed art print and countless match day programmes that a friend has supplied me with over the last few seasons.
Why do I collect these things? Good question. I have no clear answer, but I am going to try and find out.
SentimentalityIn a few years time I would imagine that my signed shirts will be worth quite a lot of money if I were to sell them on eBay. However, I know that I will never sell any of my Arsenal memorabilia. I am not collecting to make a profit. I am collecting because of a passion that knows no bounds. Whilst collectors of other items may be in the business of buying cheap and selling high, I believe that the football fan turned memorabilia collector has no desire to make a quick buck.
Friends, jobs, relationships and even dreams come and go, but football is constant. A fan will often remember and even judge years of their lives by how well their team performed. In my opinion, good times for the club represent happy periods in a football fan’s life.
This results in a fan wanting something that signifies their team’s success and the happy time in their life.
For example, the happiest times from the 23 years that I have enjoyed so far have been 1998 and 2002; the two most recent years in which Arsenal have won the “double”.
It no doubt helped that I had other great things happen to me those years, but I remember the years mostly for the fact that Arsenal were successful.
This has lead to me trying to buy memorabilia from those two seasons.
Most Wanted MemorabiliaArsenal Football Club recently ran a poll asking which items should be locked in a vault and buried beneath the new stadium.
This made me think;
what items of sports memorabilia would I most want to own?
Here is my Top 10:
1. Tony Adams’ Number 6 Arsenal shirt from the 1997/8 double winning season.
2. Sylvain Wiltord’s left boot that scored the title clinching goal at Old Trafford May 2002.
3. Dennis Bergkamp’s No. 10 shirt in which he scored his 100th AFC goal.
4. Bobby Moore’s captain’s armband from 1966.
5. Muhammed Ali’s boxing gloves from the “Rumble in the Jungle”.
6. Ian Wright’s right boot that scored his 188th Arsenal goal (club record).
7. Any England international football cap.
8. A piece of Highbury when it is demolished.
9. A piece of the old Wembley turf.
10. Any World Cup winning medal
All of these items would be worth thousands of pounds, but if I were ever lucky enough to own any of these I would never sell it.
I want these items for what they represent and what they mean to me personally not for what they are worth.
Bill Shankly famously once said:“Football is not a matter of life and death... It’s more important than that!”
I say that collecting football memorabilia is not a matter of profit margins and bottom lines….. It holds much more value than that.
By rex Halahana-Collectors cafe.