Rewind 15 years, Labour are in power. The Queen Mother has just passed away. Arsenal football club are about to start a short period of dominance over English football.
I, an open eyed, analytical 8 year old, in the midst of a barbecue party, sit inside on a scorching hot Saturday afternoon to watch an FA cup final. On the television, the afformentioned Arsenal.
Now to paint a picture, I come from a very passionate football family. My grandparents, with whom I had a season ticket at the time for my home town club Sunderland, were not too far removed from a playoff final defeat at Wembley, before plans for remodeling, to Charlton.
This day however, Arsenal were stage center at the Millenium Stadium, and Chelsea were the villains hoping to upset my unashamed mesmerity at a quite frankly mind blowing style of football.
That day, I was an Arsenal fan.
Ever since then, I have been a Gunner.
My childhood henceforth was lived inside dreams of imitating Bergkamp, Henry, Pires, Ray "It's only Ray Parlour" Parlour. I celebrated the invincibles, raged against united after that Rooney dive, laughed at Tim Lovejoy, have been heartbroken after Paris, mourned the loss of the King, and that of Highbury which I never had the opportunity to visit, shed tears against Birmingham, and more recently a different kind against Hull and Villa.
Our better years are very clearly behind us, but the beauty of football means you can't rule out the best ones being ahead. This is a fact of life as well.
Whatever happens tomorrow, Arsenal will not dissipate in how they affect my life. Whatever happens with Arsene Wenger, Arsenal are still the same club, and a future should never be decided on past performances, even if control is handled by the same person. Football has evolved to a point, on and off the pitch, to a point where a manger's job is almost moot. Arsenal and apparently Arsene's recent failings say as much, players can answer for themselves, the manager still attempts to deflect the blame... the cycle continues.
When team cohesion, morale and work ethic win you games, titles and respect, a manager has a minimal effect on the eventual outcome.
This is by the by, and maybe a discussion for another day.
I sit here, wearing the yellow of the Arsenal, as we're going to Wembley.
Remembering past joys, an infatuation that developed to love and then complete adoration and worship.
I know whatever the outcome I will feel emotion.
Reminding me I am human.
Reminding me I can love.
Reminding me there is good with every bad.