When Bournemouth traveled to the Emirates in November, a match Arsenal won 3-1, former Gunner, Ian Allinson, gave a touching interview to the matchday programme about signing for the team he supported since boyhood.
The forward, who made 83 appearances for Arsenal during his four years in north London, spoke of the pride he and his family felt when he signed for our club, despite strong interest from fellow London club, Fulham.
“I thought it was a wind up at first,” he said, referring to the call he got from Terry Neill about joining the Gunners.
“But when I learned it wasn’t, well… I wasn’t signing for Fulham, put it that way.
“My family were Arsenal and I was Arsenal. In fact, my parents – Ken and Doreen – had grown up in Islington, around Liverpool Road and Finsbury Park, before moving to Hertfordshire in the mid 1950s. I was born in Hitchin New Town in 1957.”
He later added, “Dad died in 1979 and I always wonder if he knew Arsenal would come in for me. I don’t know but something was stopping me from signing for Fulham, God knows what.
“Dad would have been proud.”
Allinson’s now 59 and the manager of St Albans City. When he left Arsenal, he went on to play for Stoke, Luton and Colchester before ending his career at Baldock Town and becoming manager.
He’s since managed twice at Boreham Wood; 2004 – 2005 and 2008 – 2015. As well as numerous other teams around England.
What’s touching to me, is that in an age full of Julian Draxlers, stropping their way from club to club before settling on a big money deal, even if they’re not guaranteed regular playing time, we can look back at the players who loved their clubs and were proud to wear their shirts.
Allinson may have only scored 16 first division goals while he was at Arsenal between 1983 and 1987, but you can bet your bottom dollar he enjoyed every single second of his time with us.