Words: Daniel Masoliver
Arsenal FC is celebrating its 125th anniversary this year and, to mark the occasion, a special exhibition presented by Nike opens today in London's prestigious Saatchi Gallery. The free to view display showcases work by photographic collective DoBeDo, and features some great shots of the current Arsenal squad outside of their usual footballing context, alongside some images of the all-important fans.
We caught up with Arsenal and England defender Kieran Gibbs (who we noticed was sporting the rather sexy and very limited edition Arsenal Destroyer Jacket, pictured), at the exhibition's launch last night, and talked Arsenal, telly and peri peri chicken.
You're but a young man, Kieran, and Arsenal is a club with great history. Do you get a sense of that when you play?
Yeah, when you see what it means to people. I mean, even my own family, they're fans themselves, so I know what it's like to be part of the supporters. It's very special.
So what do you make of this season's shirt, with the new badge?
It's a new thing, and I'm proud to be part of that new thing. The word 'Forward' [on the current crest] was from the first ever badge - I think it said that on the 1886 model - so going back to that just shows how far the club's gone.
No-one would help Jack find his missing penny
You watched Arsenal play a lot as a youngster, who were the players that you looked up to the most?
Obviously there's the Ian Wrights and the Pires's. But for me, Dennis Bergkamp stands out - he was my player.
Now that you're the one playing on the telly, do you ever rush home to see yourself on Match of the Day?
I do if we get home in time, but usually we get home late and we miss it. It used to be weird seeing myself on TV, but once the season starts and you play every three days, you just get used to it.
What else are you watching on the tellybox at the moment then?
I never watched Prison Break and I've just started watching it. I've just finished the second series and I loved that. And Entourage, I watch Entourage - although that's finished now.
Danny the Diamond was proper chuffed to receive such a warm welcome at the airport
We know that you're obsessed with playing FIFA, who's the best player you've come up against in the virtual world?
I hate to admit it, but it's Theo [Walcott] - it pains me to say it. I'm not going to say he's lucky, because he is good, so I'm not going to take that away from him, but we'll see when the new one comes out.
We reckon we could give him a game. All this talking's made us hungry, you don't have a Nando's black card we could borrow, do you?
I didn't know there was a black card, but I have heard that when people go in there a lot they just give [them] everything free. I've heard some members of JLS have this. I need to get involved. I need to stop getting take aways from there. I think that¹s what it is – I need to go in there and sit down.
Nike’s “The Arsenal: 125” Saatchi exhibition Public view: 19th - 23rd August 2011, 10am until 6pm daily . Free entry.