Super, super Rob , Super, super Rob, Super, super Rob, Super Robert Pires!!!

It is supposed to be the second part of Introduction to Arsenal Chennai SC but hey this title suits this post better. Read on and I think you will know why.

Btw if you haven’t read the first part, this might sound out of the blue. So read that to get some perspective.

The mega event was finally at hand. Robert Pires was set to land in namma Chennai with the Goa team. After a lot of desperate effort, we got in touch with their media agents and tracked down the flight info so that we could give him a hero’s welcome at the Airport. It was a weekday evening flight and despite that, the Domestic Arrival terminal was a sea of red. There were close to a hundred gooners who were in full gear.

A Part of ACSC;s Airport Welcoming Contingent
A Part of ACSC’s Airport Welcoming Contingent

The look of amazement on the exiting passengers was amusing to say the least. Once we started chanting, everyone at the Airport stopped to take notice. The flight had arrived and after some anxious wait we spotted the big man coming out. He sure did hear us from in there cause he walked towards us after exiting but the security personnel tried to take him away directly to the Team Bus. Being the gentleman that he is, he refused to walk away and approached us. Cue a lot of Autographs, Selfies and groupies. I was among the lucky few who got his autograph and shake his hand.

He was finally coaxed to move to the bus from where he was waving at us and taking pictures of us. We had gotten both him and Andre Santos a present. We tried to pass it into the bus and realizing this, they sent out a staff member to pick it up from us. Andre was presented with a framed picture of him celebrating after scoring against Chelsea at the Bridge during that amazing 5-3 win and Bobby was presented with a Dhoti and White Shirt, the traditional attire from this part of the country. You can see the crowd bowing to him in the Instagram video posted by FC Goa. The time interval between the team exiting and the bus leaving for the airport should have been 5-10 mins but stretched it to close to an hour. And I can say it went by in a flash.

Pires uploaded this on Instagram
Pires uploaded this on Instagram
The gift being passed to Bobbie captured beatifically frame by frame .
The gift being passed to Bobbie captured beatifically frame by frame

The whole experience was simply stunning. Watching the video of us chanting when Bobby came out brought tears to my eyes. I was literally shaking after realizing the magnitude of what had happened. We were all pumped up like never before and incidentally Arsenal played Dortmund that night where we romped home to a 2-0 victory. All in all a pretty awesome day. ^_^

Learning about the uproar we created at the Airport, the Hotel Personnel kicked out anyone in an Arsenal jersey for the remainder of Bobbie’s stay in Chennai. Despite this obstacle, a lot of gooners managed to get in and interact with Bobbie in the coming days. We came to the conclusion that we had to do something pretty special for the great man during the game. We zeroed in on Pires Masks and and a special banner for bobbie alone. Our Magnum Opus was THAT 100 FT banner. We filled over two stands with our banners. Robbie’s was astounding to say the least. Absolutely no one in stadium could have missed that.

100 Feet of Pure Awesomeness
100 Feet of Pure Awesomeness

For the other league games we used to have around 50 gooners turn up on an average. The Pires one was an absolute blockbuster. Over 250 Arsenal fans had flocked to Chennai from various parts of TN and some even from neighboring states to watch Pires. We took a lot of effort to make sure even knew that they had to come in Red and the result was a Stand of RED during the game. Robert was on the bench and right in front of us. We had let him know before that we had something special arranged for him and thankfully we did not disappoint. The Chanting and Singing began before Kick off and went on till the game ended. Unfortunately Goa’s Coach and Brazilian Legend Zico never brought on Pires even though they were comfortably winning. A chance to see our legend in action was the least so many gooners deserved. We started chanting around 70th for Pires to be brought on and this went on till full time. Amazing show from the Gooners and Goonerettes. StarSports made a small video featuring ACSC and Pires – Click on this link to watch it .

Tickets that were bought for the Pires game
Tickets that were bought for the Pires game

Pires came over to our side after the game got over, acknowledged the crowd and while leaving he even took one of the masks back, took a pic with it and posted it online. Talk about fulfillment.

Pires acknowledging the Gooners
Pires acknowledging the Gooners
Pires in Bojan's Shirt and sporting the mask we made for him
Pires in Bojan’s Shirt and sporting the mask we made for him

We happened to meet Pires the day after he landed in the hotel and spent a while talking to him. Arsenal fans world over literally worship the guy and he is such a humble, down to earth guy. No airs about him. Over the three days signed hundreds of autographs, took pictures with dozens of fans. I asked him if I can hug him when we finished talking. He looked at me, gave a smile and proceeded to hug me. Thankfully my friends caught it on camera or I myself wouldn’t have believed it.

One of the best moments of my life ^_^
One of the best moments of my life ^_^

Touched, talked to and was hugged by an Invincible. Those three days were some of best in my life.

{ This was until I knew I would get to meet Arsene in person and watch The Arsenal live. But we will get to that later. 😉 }

Robert Pires's msg to ACSC before he left Chennai
Robert Pires’s msg to ACSC before he left Chennai

When a SkySports journalist interviewed Pires, he asked him how the Arsenal fans in Chennai were and Pires said we are the best in India !!! Arsenal fans world over will love him dearly and it was no different here.

The Tweet and the clipping of a newspaper article the day after the game
The Tweet and the clipping of a newspaper article the day after the game

ACSC is such a tight knit group that apart from almost meeting each other once or twice a week, we arrange a group dinner/ lunch meet every month where we once again talk about …..errrr Arsenal. Well what else can you really expect a bunch of fanatics to do. 😛

The season was in the last stage of completion and there were rumors of Arsenal coming to India. Despite knowing it wouldn’t happen, I secretly harbored hopes for it to happen. I mean they had already visited Vietnam, China and Indonesia in the recent years. One could always hope. One fine day, Arsenal announced that they were gonna travel to Singapore for the Barclays Asia Trophy along with Everton and Stoke. We realized that this would be our best chance yet to watch our beloved Arsenal in action and unable to hold out until they come to India, we started talking about going to SG for the Pre Season Tour. I am sure a lot of you are yawing by so now so why don’t we stop with this for now. The Singapore Fairy tale can wait a bit I guess.

P.S – I know there are quite a lot of photos and video links related to Pires on this post but I had an ocean to chose from and it became very hard to decide what to remove. What you see is but a tiny drop in the mighty ocean.

Up the Arsenal !!!


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