And in the end it is not the years in your life that counts, it is the life in your years
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1989, The Best Year of My Life

I believe for everyone there are those few things in life that really mean so much to us, for me one of those things is Arsenal Football Club, and of course my family. And where either of those things is good, then in general your life is good. But 1989 was the year when both the top things in my life became perfect, superb, even utopia. It was the year when everything went so right in the end, and the journey along the way was special. If only more years could be 1989.

The year started off with Arsenal doing quite well in the league, we were at the top, along with Liverpool, Mr Graham has us playing well and getting results, but lets be honest, this was the Arsenal and deep down we kind of knew we would not win it, but the ride would be fun.

Then around April came the news that I was to become a dad, sometime in December, it was a real surprise, and at first I was scared witless. Me a dad, me with a kid, what if it was a girl, what if it were a boy who did not like football. On the morning my beautiful wife Annie told me, I bolted out the house so quick, and yes I know that was the wrong thing to do, but I was simply so scared. However first was the matter of us winning the league, and football came first.

The day we won it will live long in the mind, the build up, the results that went against us, Hillsborough, the drive to Anfield, the total belief, the drive home after the game, Micky T, “you’ll never walk alone”, half time and the Arsenal sing song, “It’s up for grabs now”, everything about that night was special, and in a cupboard at home is the Liverpool football shirt I swapped my Arsenal one for. A very special day. Over the years I have been able to celebrate that night in a number of ways, I was in the movie Fever Pitch, I featured in a book called “I was there” and my flag which the players had on the pitch after the game became a tee-shirt sold in the Arsenal shop.

The summer after that was calm, it was time to start turning minds to the rather serious issue of becoming a dad, a parent. First things first was buying a flat, sorting it all out, and trying to be supportive to mum. God I was useless, I just did not have a clue what I was doing. But in the end we moved into this new build flat with it’s one and a half bedrooms, kitchen living room and bathroom. It was okay. And we settled in and waited for the arrival.
The shock was we did not have to wait as long as we had though, over a month early, and little me became a dad sooner that I had thought. The day of my daughters birth is also one engraved into the memory. I got a pager, an old fashioned text message, around lunchtime. I was working in Hemel Hempstead and had to drive down to Archway. Twice I was stopped by the old Bill, and in the end I was escorted through north London. Little was I to know it would be 11 hours later that my girl would make her entrance. I am jealous of women for being able to do that whole baby thing, but in no way would I be able to, it is quite amazing.

The emotions of that night are very mixed, I felt guilt, fear and trepidation on the night, but also excitement, pride, passion, elation, joy, and now my memories are full of moments of laughter. And god only knows what it must of been like for mum, she was truly amazing. I will always remember getting home, deep into the middle of the night, I sat in our little flat and cried my eyes out for more than an hour. The realisation that my life had a purpose, a meaning, had hit me. My little girl was at that very moment lying in SCBU, in an incubator, her mum in a hospital bed alone, and I was sitting there crying and thanking people in my mind, I had found the meaning of my life.
1989 had given me everything a man could want, a child, a championship winning team, and the meaning for my very being. It was special.

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