How Per Mertesacker Rekindled My Love For Football

The chances are, if you support a side in one of Europe’s top divisions you will have felt like I have felt over the last year or so. For my entire life I have been football-mad. I was captain of my school side right up until I left and was one of the better players in my Sunday league team, if I do say so myself. However, as a passionate Arsenal fan and season ticket holder for four years, last season I decided to give it up.

It had nothing to do with the money, despite the huge prices that are being charged, but I felt that I had become just another number. I appreciate top clubs taking a money-grabbing approach as they are indeed a business at the end of the day, but it pains me inside being treating as a customer rather than a fan.

My whole family tree have been Gooners so it was only natural that I followed in their footsteps, as well as the face I live about a six minute bus journey from Highbury.

But going to games had the fun factor ripped out of it a long time ago. The overzealous stewarding contributed to the dismay, with a luminous orange arm on your shoulder as soon as your backside leaves the seat for any reason at all.

People looking at you with a frown spread across their face as you try and start some atmosphere is another soul killer, as well as the evident lack of trophies that were coming into the club.

I felt disillusioned with football in general.

However, this season saw my return to the club as I took my seat for the club’s fixture against Crystal Palace. The game wasn’t the best, nor was the view from the away end, but I felt at home again. The reason for my presence was because of one man – Per Mertesacker.

Not the most glamourous of player by any means, but his passion for the cause and his leadership qualities rekindled something inside me. It is almost as if he would put his life on the line for the shirt on his back and it sparked a reaction inside of me telling me that I need to get back into the mix.

I lost my footballing mojo about a year ago now, but thanks to Mertesacker I have firmly got it back, and for that, I thank you Per.