Tuesday, July 5, 2022

North London Forever – an anthem emerges

Yesterday I played golf in the morning and 5-a-side in the evening and this morning my body is sending me very clear messages that I am a ‘feckin’ eejit’ and asking ‘Do I know how old I am?’

It’s ok though, the pain is localised in my limbs, torso, extremities, muscles, joints, tendons, cartilage, organs and right shoulder. I scored some goals though, and hit some good shots, so it makes it all worthwhile.

While I was on the golf course, I took a sneaky look at my phone just to check what was going on, and saw I had a load of notifications on Twitter. I didn’t quite understand what was going on, but there was a video of a guy singing a song which I couldn’t listen to at the time. The Tweet in question came from Highbury Way, and the video was a clip of a song called The Angel by Louis Dunford:

Genuinely, I don’t think I’ve ever seen anything like this happen before. There were RTs, it picked up more and more traction during the day, snowballing across social media and into the consciousness of Arsenal fans far and wide.

There have been attempts before to create an anthem, the Elvis song ‘Wonder of You’ was played for some years having been chosen by a focus group. You can’t fault the intent or the desire to try and make something happen, but if it doesn’t click with people, it will never properly catch on. There was also a Roger Daltrey one about Highbury. Again, it didn’t stick. A song like So Paddy Got Up is one that is unique to Arsenal fans, but it remains quite niche.

I’ve also seen loads of people down the years come up with songs for players, songs for the team, and some have been quite clever. The lyrics are good, you could see how it might catch on, but for some reason they never do. It’s a tough thing to get into the hearts and minds and ears of a football fanbase.

Yesterday, we saw the completely organic emergence of what I’m convinced will be an Arsenal anthem for years and years. It’s so easy to picture (what is the audio version of this?) the stadium in unison singing that song, it lends itself to that kind of communion and I would be lying if I didn’t admit that I woke up with it in my head. An earworm, but the best kind. It’s actually quite remarkable to see how this has happened, and at a time when so much of what happens on social media is the kind of bullshit we could all do without, a story like this is just fantastic.

I can’t even begin to imagine what it must have been like for Louis Dunford himself, but he’s embraced it, felt the love for his music – which must be amazing for any musician – and played his part in this song becoming something that I think will be sung loud and proud by Arsenal fans ‘on the terraces’ from here on in. Incredible stuff.

The final thing I’ll say is that if you like the song, support the artist. While there are ways to stream, we know they don’t do much for musicians. The Spotify bloke who wanted to buy Arsenal would pay Louis 0.000006p per stream of his songs, but Arsenal fans can purchase and download to show their support, with actual money going to the man who writes and performs the songs. I’m assuming the best way to do this is via his official website, so if you can afford to spend a few bob on a Saturday, I’m sure it’d be hugely appreciated.

Follow this link: https://www.louis-dunford.com

Elsewhere there wasn’t too much to go over from Mikel Arteta’s press conference. There was a bit of team news about Tomiyasu and I’m hoping he’s fit and ready tomorrow, and it looks like Bukayo Saka is fit to play too which is a relief after his substitution against Man Utd.

For more on that and the West Ham game, we have a preview podcast on Patreon right now, and this is my very final reminder that every penny we generate from Patreon this month will be donated directly to Unicef whose programmes will help children in war-torn areas of the world, including the Ukraine, Yemen, Syria, Gaza, Afghanistan and more.

So, to get access to everything we do on there knowing your subscription is going to do some small amount of good, go to patreon.com/arseblog.

Thanks to everyone who has joined us this month, it means a lot. Right, let’s leave it there for now. Back tomorrow with a West Ham preview, whatever the weather.

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