Everyone’s Derby Day is different.
Here’s an insight into how the day can pan out when your other half supports the Lilywhites.
09:30 Wake up. Roll over to say good morning. Realise it’s derby day and turn back to face the opposite direction. Feel a bit sick.
09:45 Sit down to breakfast. Have a brief chat about the likely result. Disagree. Discover sudden overwhelming interest in porridge. Feel a bit sicker.
10:30 Take the puppy out for a walk. Remain an extra half-metre separated throughout. Tension could be cut with a knife.
11:30 Boyfriend finally leaves for the game. Crack an awkward joke about wishing him bad luck. Wave goodbye cheerily. Unclench stomach and feel a bit less sick.
11:31 Dash upstairs to change into Arsenal kit. Put left sock on before right sock in some new-found superstition. Return to previous levels of nausea.
11:45 Call parents. Exchange declarations of confidence. Touch every piece of wood available in a 30 metre radius.
12:00 Settle in to watch the build up. Express displeasure at the thought of sitting through Michael Owen’s claptrap for the ensuing three hours.
12:40 Text boyfriend to say “see you on the other side.” Text best mate to say “I’m so nervous.” Text Dad to say “can I come over later if it all goes wrong?”
12:41 Best mate texts back – “All the signs say we should win comfortably. So we’ll probably get stuffed!” Dad texts back – “If it all goes wrong let’s just go on holiday for a week.”
12:43 Chew fingernails.
12:45 Sit forward on the sofa. Clench fists. Cross every part of my body that it’s physically possible to cross. Feel on the brink of puking.
12:46 Want to punch Michael Owen. Grab a cushion and squeeze it into submission instead.
12:49 Ozil knocks a glorious ball over the top for Walcott, who Henry’s it into the bottom right corner. Shout “get in there my son!” Realise he’s the same age as me. Sit down. Subtly give a victory fist clench.
13:13 Kane finally gets free from Coquelin’s attentions and takes a pot shot from 30 yards. Goes out off the outside of the post. Let out an enormous sigh of relief. Beg for half time to come quickly.
13:14 Per meets a Cazorla corner with a meaty header. Jump in the air, scaring the life out of the puppy. Spend the remaining 16 minutes + injury time reassuring him. Realise I’ve missed Pochettino getting smacked in the face by Coquelin’s clearance.
13:31 Half time. Remember to breathe. Text Dad to say how toothless Spurs look. Run into the kitchen in search of some salt to throw over my shoulder. Turn around to see puppy licking the floor and then drain his water bowl.
13:58 Walcott cruises past Rose, squares it for Cazorla who backheels it into RAMSEY! Fall over coffee table in celebration. Puppy now cavorting around in excitement. Sit back with eyes closed for just a moment, savouring the relief. Realise it’s Arsenal. Retense every muscle possible.
14:29 Monreal slips while playing a back pass. Kane sneaks in and toe pokes against the post and in off Ospina’s back. On the TV the Spurs stands are completely empty and the celebrations are quiet.
14:37 After an unbelievable 6 minutes of injury time, the whistle goes. Do a jig with the puppy. Text Dad to say “I told you so!”
14:38 Retweet a picture of a red rectangle and the captain “An aerial view of London!”
14:47 Rewind and rewatch Ramsey’s goal approximately 27 times, all the while giving my neck a massage to try to get rid of the tension.
15:18 Randomly wake up the puppy to stroke him in a ridiculously exuberant fashion. Enthuse “Look how happy you are. You’re a little Gunner, aren’t you?!” Do a brief google search for Arsenal branded puppy outfits. Get a grip on self.
16:00 Hear the car pull up outside. Whip upstairs to change out of Arsenal shirt. Allow self a quick grin then rearrange features into a semblance of neutrality.
16:02 Say “Hiiiiiiii” with far too much enthusiasm. Stony silence. Turn attention back to the puppy.
16:02 Boyfriend goes for a walk on the basis that the puppy is too hyper. Puppy skips joyfully by his side as they leave the house. Do a little skip myself as I return to the television.
16:03 Go back to the Sky+ recording. Watch the first half again, commenting to self on Ozil’s masterclass.
16:59 Abruptly stop the recording as boyfriend and puppy return. Accidentally flip over to an x-rated programme in hurry to change the channel.
17:04 Offer an olive branch – “Thought the ref had a bit of a shocker really.” No response. “Shall we watch a film tonight then?”
17:07 Select Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers as the second longest film in our collection. Order in Papa Johns and turn the lights down.
20:06 Finish the film. Instantly suggest watching Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King as the longest film in our collection.
20:07 Get bored of the monster fighting and browse twitter. Troll some Spurs fans who I don’t have to spend time with the rest of the week, month or year. Smile to self from time to time. Favourite and retweet various comedy hashtags and memes.
23:28 Film finishes, risk a look across the sofa. Suggest an early night.
23:30 Put puppy in his basket, get into bed and turn out the light. Have a cheeky grin. Whisper quietly “maybe next time.” Say goodnight.
23:45 Finally the adrenaline stops pumping. Fall into a deep slumber. Enjoy sweet sweet dreams.
Enjoy your Derby Day, wherever you are.
As long as you’re a Gunner, that is.