FTK's point for debate: Are you proud of Arsenal for it's English heritage or it's Cosmopolitan appeal?

Happy St Georges Day! I am pleased that today many Gooners will be celebrating St Georges’s day. But will they be celebrating and embracing the English heritage of Arsenal football Club. I am wearing my polo shirt with a cross of St George and I have the English flag draped across the back of the inside of my car, alongside the Arsenal and Invincibles car stickers. For me celebrating St George’s day is to celebrate the land of my birth. Yet I hopefully represent all that is good about Arsenal football club, and that is our inclusivity. We are based in Islington, a London Borough.
Ethnic Groups, Islington, 2001 (source ONS) Percentage Approx no of people
All White 75.4 132,551
White British 56.8 99,853
Other White 18.6 32,698
Mixed 4.1 7,207
Asian or Asian British 5.4 9,493
Black or Black British 11.9 20,920
Chinese or Other Ethnic Group 3.3 5,801
TOTAL 175,797 175,972*
As the table compiled by the ONS the population mix in 2001 indicated 75% of people in Islington are White with 18.6% described as Other white! !2% are Black and 5% Asian. Arsenal Football club is a proud English club, but it is rightly also proud of it Cosmopolitan appeal. For to support a football club is not to concentrate upon it’s ethnic diversity. It is to support the colours of the team, the Club crest, the results, the victories and the trophies. There is no better feeling than as a Gooner to see Tottenham or Man United suffering. We have supporter clubs represented in almost every continent on the planet as this world map shows. Only South America is empty of an official Arsenal Supporters Club
Remember the protest against the national flag ban at the Emirates organised by RedACtion? The European night in question I arrived at the Emirates with my Cross of St George flag draped around my shoulders only to be told by a steward that he had to confiscate my St Georges Flag. I refused. He therefore said that I would not be allowed into the ground. I hesitated and suggested that I be allowed into the ground having put the flag away. I was promptly told by the steward that CCTV would be patrolling the ground and if seen waving this National Flag of England, I would be singled out and ejected from the ground.
Happily thanks to a concerted effort by RedAction supporters and this blog, we managed to influence a welcome change to the National Flag ban. The original concerns related to possible violence between Turkish groups, and what ever the rights or wrongs of National boundary disputes. The political world should keep itself out of football. I argue that being a Gooner, a worldwide Gooner is something that Politicians could learn from. I refer of course to the well behaved correct football fan. I am not talking about skinheads who doctrine of racism is often spread upon some football terraces, where the passion of supporting the club is hijacked by those who wish to see some form of political revolution.
We only need to look to Poland and Spain and Italy, to see how horrible racist elements can stain the good heritage of football as a sport in general and some clubs in particular. Yet I believe that any fan who looks at the history of Arsenal will see that whilst being an English club, several of our most successful sides have not been 100% English. The double winners of 1971 had a significant Irish contingent, the 2002 Premier league squad had a large proportion of French players, and currently now our best senior and up and coming young players are Mexican English and African.
In an ideal world each fan should be able to celebrate their nationality and their football club without conflict. Recall the giant United Flag at Wembley before the FA Cup semi-final? We are the Arsenal and we are the best of all nations where ever they originate. It is a brand, a product, a dream, a magnificent club of which I am very proud. Yet let us us focus on what unites us, as opposed to what divides us, and in that regard Arsenal Football is setting the bar where it needs to be.
We must not allow ourselves to be drawn into political conflict, we must be all inclusive and celebrate the single love of footballing world. We acknowledge other Gooners when we travel the world over. I have shared drinks with people wearing Arsenal shirts on holiday. Talked about those great goals by Ian Wright and Thierry Henry. At the Emirates we sing about Theo Walcott being an Englishman at Arsenal. Yet he like me is black to the eye.
My roots are in the Caribbean, Jamaica to be precise and the National motto is “Out of many, One people” That is something that I cherish and believe in.
So you can be a supporter of an English Club and not be English that is a no brainer, what I find exciting is the fusion of cultures that are brought together under our crest. So the anachronism that is Fabregas the King drove to work today, A black Gooner, driving a german car with the English National flag and hard core Jamaican Ragga blaring from it’s speakers. A alien from another planet would be quite confused! Happy St Georges Day!
Fabregas the King.

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