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Arsenal fan John Williamson in Singapore: My respect for Unai Emery grows – while Emile Smith-Rowe is going places

PUBLISHED: 12:08 28 July 2018 | UPDATED: 12:08 28 July 2018

Loyal Arsenal fan John Williamson in Singapore with Ray Parlour. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSON

Loyal Arsenal fan John Williamson in Singapore with Ray Parlour. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSON

Archant

John Williamson, one of the biggest Arsenal fans on the planet has been talking to Layth Yousif about his trip to Singapore to watch Unai Emery’s side play two matches in the island state in South East Asia. Read on for more...

Loyal Arsenal fan John Williamson in Singapore. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSONLoyal Arsenal fan John Williamson in Singapore. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSON

When the squad was announced for the pre-season trip to Singapore, there was some some shocks and surprises – a new head coach, with the uncertainty around it all making it a trip into the unknown.

Once I arrived, the news coming from London regarding the speculation about our CEO Ivan Gazidis possibly departing the club made it worry to say the least.

However, here in Singapore, the news regarding Ivan and Alisher Usmanov possibly selling his shares didn’t seem to bother anyone including those around the club.

As in 2015, the players have been training in the America’s Club and despite the soaring heat, everyone has been in high spirits.

Arsenal v Atletico Madrid in Singapopre. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSONArsenal v Atletico Madrid in Singapopre. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSON

I’ve been fortunate to attend a fan party with six players – as always with these events, the players show us they’re normal human beings we can relate to.

I was also the UK fans’ representative at a Q&A session with Ray Parlour which was filmed by the club and will be shown on the official web site.

Ray was in excellent form reminiscing of former glories and his pride in playing for the Arsenal Legends.

On one of my trips to the club hotel, I was able to meet Unai Emery, our new head coach.

Arsenal merchandise on sale before Arsenal v Atletico Madrid in Singapopre. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSONArsenal merchandise on sale before Arsenal v Atletico Madrid in Singapopre. CREDIT JOHN WILLIAMSON

My respect for him grows more and more as time progresses – I’m hopeful we can get a top four spot and perhaps a trophy.

Having seen us lose our opening match on penalties, there were plenty of positives and even if there were lots of changes made in the second half, it made sense with the focus being on preparing us for our opening match against Manchester City.

I’ve been told that Unai is very hands on, I’m hoping to see this at first hand.

The match against Atletico Madrid saw a real stand-out performance from Emile Smith-Rowe.

I’ve watched him play for The Arsenal since he was 12 years old in our academy.

He really is a potential superstar.

The goal he scored was fantastic but not unusual having seen a lot of him including our FA Youth Cup run last season.

He is a player going places.

The saddest thing about the Atletico match was empty seats at the stadium, not in Singapore but it appears, in other matches organised by ICC around the world.

However I’ve been told it will be a full house against PSG.



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