Recent rumours claimed that Arsenal had a mega-star of fans in rapper Jay-Z and considering his background, it was easy to wonder how the hip-hop tycoon is somehow a gooner.
For a typical ‘New Yorker’ – named Shawn Corey Carter by birth – whom baseball and basketball should be mainstream entertainment to, it is quite ironic that ‘soccer’ is one of Jay-Z’s interests.
So how did he become an Arsenal admirer at all?
“It was about five years ago now,” he explained in an interview with the official Arsenal magazine.
“When Thierry Henry was at the club I saw him play and I just thought he was an amazing player, ever since then I have been a big fan of the club, following you guys and still today you play the beautiful football that Thierry did, I think he had a real long term effect on the team.”
“I love all sports, but what I really love is when people play sport in a beautiful way, and that’s one thing Arsenal do for sure.
His agenda as an entertainer has inevitably stood in the way of any plans as a gooner but Jay-Z did manage to make it to an Arsenal match for the first time this season during the 4-2 defeat at Man. City in September. That was when the public noticed his affection for football – even though he was initially presumed as a blue.
“I don’t get chance to watch the team in London,” he continued. “it’s difficult to find time with all the travelling I do, plus I live so far away. But we get all the EPL games over in the States, you can watch any games you like, so it’s pretty easy to keep up to date with how Arsenal are doing.”
“The result wasn’t great [at City], but I was glad to see Arsenal play,” he said. “After that game the press started reporting that I was a Manchester City fan, I am really glad all that has been cleared up and that everybody in the UK knows that I am an Arsenal fan.”
But the 40-year-old has vowed to appear at Arsenal’s ground one day and with Thierry Henry not featuring anymore, it will be Cesc Fabregas who will catch his attention.
“I will come to Emirates soon that’s for sure. I love London as a city, it’s just finding time when I am over here for a few days to come and watch a game. I will find time soon, I will make sure of it.”
“I think Cesc Fabregas is a great player,” he said. “It doesn’t matter what sport it is the greatest sportsmen in the world do the difficult things and make it look easy. That’s what Cesc does, he is so graceful in everything he does, and it looks effortless, the boy was born to play soccer you can see that.
“And Thierry Henry – that is a guy I would like to meet. I know he is a big NBA fan, so I might meet him courtside one day, or maybe when I come to the Emirates. He still comes to watch you guys right? He must do he is a legend there.
Jay-Z will surely like to see a return of the glory which accompanied the days of Thierry Henry and insists that Arsenal’s often underdog-tagged youngsters will fire on all cylinders one day.
“You have always got to hope for the best, and in life you are never out of it until you are out of it,” he said.
“It’s still a very young team, but youth counts for a lot, and I am confident this can still be a very successful season. If we win the title, then I will make sure I give Arsenal a shout out on stage for sure.”