Retired schoolteacher devotes life to Aresnal

By Qiu Bo ( China Daily ) Updated: 2014-06-19 09:48:25

Retired schoolteacher devotes life to Aresnal

Liu poses with current Arsenal player Mathieu Flamini in London in May. Photo provided to China Daily

Years later, one of her sons and his family, including her first grandson, left for Canada. Her husband, although retired, would still pitch in at his former workplace - the Beijing University People's Hospital - leaving her lonely. It was soccer that came to her rescue.

She was upset when the 2002 World Cup ended. She wasn't able to accept the fact that she would have to wait for another four years to be that deeply engaged, she says.

In recent years, Liu's curiosity about soccer took her to the city's many libraries where she has spent hours absorbing knowledge of the game.

In 2006, when Arsenal lost to Spanish club FC Barcelona in the Union of European Football Associations championship league final, Liu says, she felt sorry for the "gunner" as the English club is known to fans, because they played in "wonderful technical style". It was then that Liu found her true calling as an Arsenal supporter.

She watched all their matches on television and recorded her observations in diaries.

When former Arsenal attacker Eduardo Alves da Silva suffered a serious injury in 2008, Liu wrote a letter to encourage the team, addressed to its manager Arsene Wenger. The letter was translated to English from Chinese by one of her sons. "That was the first time I cried for Arsenal," she says.

A special room in her house is full of Arsenal posters and souvenirs and reminders of "betrayals", such as the time when Arsenal's former captain Francesc Fabregas joined rivals FC Barcelona. Liu tore down his poster. "The charm of soccer is that it fully embodies people's loyalty."

Retired schoolteacher devotes life to Aresnal

Retired schoolteacher devotes life to Aresnal

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