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SPORTS

Kenyans should learn from their EPL counterparts

FOOTBALL By Bismarck Mutahi in London | May 3rd 2016

A match-day in North London is not your usual day, especially if one is visiting the area for the first time.

But even for the residents, they cannot have enough of it. For starters, just walking around North London will tell you there is a match at the Emirates Stadium, home of Arsenal.

There will be everything to show that hosts Arsenal are having a match. From discounted food at hotels and match merchandise, there indicators are very visible.

Food joints near the stadium have discounted prices too. Some stores in the area also have temporary signs on their doors written 'no away fans allowed'. At first, one might think the store owners are trying to keep rowdy fans at bay, but far from it.

Sue, one attendant at the stores, says it is a plan to intimidate the visiting team. They care less whether such an act may affect their business.

While this is happening, everything at the stadium is all quiet. Stewards are not in any hurry to open the gates and only do with just one and half hour to kickoff.

However, for those fans, who want to get to the stadium early, they can always do so, but are not able to access the seating area inside the 60,000-seater stadium.

Unlike Kasarani or Nyayo Stadium, the Emirates has no perimeter wall that bars fans from getting to the pitch, nor are there any guards, who stop anyone from getting an outside feel of the stadium.

Actually, fans have a chance to take pictures of statues of Arsenal legends Thierry Henry, Dennis Bergkamp and Tony Adams.

However, for Joe, an Arsenal fan, the few hours to any match is an opportunity for him to wait at the players' entrance and offer his salutations.

And when they drive past, the day is successful for Joe and other few fans, who wait to just see the players drive past, in style.

Alex Iwobi, driving a BMW X7, is among the first to arrive, while Olivier Giroud, who drives a Bentley is among the last to come in.

"Welbeck normally drives in late and I can't wait for him," says Joe.

Once all players have driven by, Joe and his team depart for the stadium and are never keen on watching the match.

At 3pm, gates into the seating area are opened and everyone gets in according to their ticket numbers. This makes it easy to control fans. Hopefully, Kenyan clubs are reading this.

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