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Famous football fanatics: Morgan on Arsenal

By Chris Murphy
Piers Morgan has been an Arsenal fan since 1971.
Piers Morgan has been an Arsenal fan since 1971.
  • Piers Morgan has been a fan of Arsenal since 1971
  • 'Wenger is a genius but the pressure in on to deliver a trophy', he says
  • Dennis Bergkamp is his favorite Gunners player of all time
  • Morgan thinks Arsenal will win silverware this season

(CNN) -- They may be famous, but even the world's biggest names go weak at the knees for their favorite football team. Football Fanzone talks to America's Got Talent judge Piers Morgan about his 40-year long love affair with Arsenal.

Where does your love of Arsenal come from?

My dad is a lifelong Spurs fan but he took his eye off the ball as Spurs fans and players tend to do. It was about 1971 when Arsenal were suddenly very dominant and Charlie George was their striker. There was that wonderful chant: "Charlie George, superstar, looks like a girl and wears a bra." I thought that was one of the most exciting things I'd ever heard at the age of six. I was intoxicated by a mixture of following this exciting team and really annoying my dad at the same time.

What is your most memorable moment as an Arsenal fan?

When Arsenal won the title at White Hart Lane in 2004 and I ended up with my dad, Arsene Wenger and Pat Rice in the Spurs boardroom drinking the most expensive bottle of wine they had as fans rioted outside. It just doesn't get any better than that.

When was your first Arsenal match?

Arsenal versus Manchester United in 1970. I was five and my dad took me to Highbury. It seemed so feral and smelt unbelievably dangerous and exciting. It was when hooliganism was at its epicenter and I remember afterwards having to run to get away from these people who were trying to kill each other and that was it, that was the game I wanted to follow.

Dennis Bergkamp, for about five years was the most complete, technically brilliant, intelligent footballer that has ever graced an Arsenal shirt
--Piers Morgan

Arsenal have had some great players down the years. Who was your favorite?

The shortlist would be Thierry Henry, Liam Brady, Patrick Vieira and Ian Wright but the winner would be Dennis Bergkamp who for about five years was the most complete, technically brilliant, intelligent footballer that has ever graced an Arsenal shirt.

If you were in charge of Arsenal what would you change?

I don't think I'd change a lot. Although Wenger would claim it's his youth policy come good it's actually youth maturing coupled with some astute signings. Thomas Vermaelen is the best center-back we've had since Tony Adams and Andrey Arshavin is one of the best players we've ever had. They're looking like a team that has proper Premier League credentials to it. I have reservations about Manuel Almunia but other than that, if they stay fit, they've got a real chance.

How much rests on Cesc Fabregas' shoulders?

Every season we keep Fabregas will be a bonus. These Spanish and Portuguese players, their dream is not to play for a British club it's to play for Real Madrid or Barcelona.

Fact Box
Piers Morgan is a journalist who has edited both the News of World and Daily Mirror newspapers in Britain.

He made the leap to TV with his Tabloid Tales series before becoming a judge on America's Got Talent and its British counterpart. He also presents Piers Morgan's Life Stories on ITV1.

Arsene Wenger: Genius who can stay forever or too long without a trophy and time to go?

He's a genius and certainly the best manager Arsenal has ever had but I don't believe in giving anybody a job for life. It's a big season for Wenger. You can't go more than five years at Arsenal without winning anything without serious questions being raised about your future. My gut feeling is that we're going to win something this year. The opposition is not as strong as it was and I think the waters are parting for Arsenal.

As an Arsenal fan which club do you love to hate?

Everyone assumes Arsenal fans hate Spurs the most but I don't because they are not that threatening. I detest everything about Manchester United and I think Alex Ferguson would expect nothing else. He detests everything about Arsenal and about me. It's a marriage made in hell, me and Fergie.