Early in 1966, as an eight-year-old schoolboy, Ian Castle found Arsenal Football Club – but almost didn’t. Knowing nothing about football at the time he decided one afternoon that he’d be a West Ham fan. A few hours later his father pointed out the error of his ways and informed him in a very matter-of-fact manner that Arsenal was the best team. Unquestioningly, he accepted that advice and instantly switched his allegiance. It was a narrow escape. Forty-six years later he is still an Arsenal fan, a season ticket holder for 43 of those years and in that time the naïve schoolboy has matured into rather more cynical middle age.
The book is a nostalgic journey, seen through the eyes of a fan, following Arsenal from its days as a run-of-the-mill, underachieving football team in the 1960s to today, when it occupies a place at the top table of the world’s wealthiest football clubs. It is a journey punctuated with incredible highs and desperate lows and is one that has given him a real sense of belonging, of being a part of something very special.
Arsenal: The Agony & The Ecstasy is that story.
Published: 17 September 2012