Arsenal are without doubt one of the biggest clubs in world football – no matter what their rivals might have to say!
Sure, they’ve never won the Champions League and they haven’t won the Premier League since 2004, but the Gunners have played an essential part in the colossal rise in stature of English football over the past 25 years.
Despite a recent lack of success – compared to most of their domestic rivals at least – Arsenal have huge international appeal and are one of the most widely supported clubs on the planet.
In fact, they’ve attracted a whole host of famous figures over the years, from all corners of the world.
Everyone knows about Piers Morgan and Lewis Hamilton’s love of the Gunners, but what about the celebs who are a little quieter with their support?
With that being said, here are nine famous figures you had no idea supported Arsenal.
Matt Damon is such a big Arsenal fan that he once wrote ‘Tottenham sucks’ on a piece of artwork at a charity auction.
In 2008, The Willow Foundation – a charity that was set up in the 1960s by former Arsenal goalkeeper Bob Wilson to help seriously ill people aged 16 to 40 – asked a number of celebrities to paint canvasses for them to auction off.
Damon happily obliged, and let the world know exactly where his love in football lies, fetching £62 for the charity in the process.
And to be fair to the Hollywood star, Tottenham did suck back in 2008 *wink*.
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Osama bin Laden
Numerous reports claim that terrorist mastermind and founder of al-Qaeda Osama bin Laden supported Arsenal.
After studying in Oxford for a few years during the 1970s, Bin Laden got very into football and became especially fond of the Gunners.
Despite embarking on a militant career as early as the 80s, bin Laden got wrapped up in George Graham’s side’s remarkable run to the European Cup Winners’ Cup final in the 1993/94 season and is even thought to have attended a few home matches.
He later bought his son Abdullah an Ian Wright replica shirt.
Bin Laden isn’t exactly the kind of famous supporter you’d want to boast about, but that didn’t stop Gunners’ fans having a bit of fun when they found out, chanting:
“Osama, woah-woah, Osama, woah-waoh, he’s hiding in Kabul, he loves the Arsenal”.
The long-distance runner doesn’t exactly keep his love of Arsenal a secret, but he certainly doesn’t plaster criticism of the club all over social media like others might *cough* Piers Morgan *cough*.
Mo Farah is such a big fan of the club that he wanted his son’s middle name to be ‘Arsenal’ before his wife dissuaded him, and the former Olympian says he has ambitions to one day work as a fitness coach for the Gunners.
“I started supporting them when I first came to Britain as a kid,” Farah told the Daily Mail in 2016.
“I liked the way they played. They also had a lot of players from African backgrounds.”
Cuban dictator Fidel Castro’s love for Arsenal first came to light during the 1994/95 season when the Gunners were drawn against Ligue 1 side Auxerre in the European Cup Winners Cup.
Castro, who was coincidentally on a diplomatic visit to France at the time, decided to attend the second leg, and watched his beloved Arsenal win 1-0 thanks to an Ian Wright goal.
After the match, the Cuban revealed he’d been following the London’s club’s fortunes since the early 70s, though I suppose it’s no surprise a military man would decide to support a team nicknamed ‘the Gunners’.
The Rolling Stones lead singer has been an Arsenal fan for over 50 years, and the 78-year-old still gets down to the Emirates whenever he can.
Although it was released in 1965, the song (I Can’t Get No) Satisfaction aptly describes life as an Arsenal fan over the last 15 years. Perhaps Mick always knew what was coming.
Queen Elizabeth II
Royal sources have claimed for years that Her Majesty the Queen is a big Arsenal fan, and while we’re likely never to spot her down in Islington enjoying a pre-match pint, her support for the club is genuine – just ask former Labour leader (and fellow Gooner) Jeremy Corbyn!
Even former Arsenal captain Cesc Fabregas has confirmed the rumours, telling Spanish radio: “It seems the Queen follows football, and she told us she was an Arsenal fan. She appeared to definitely know who I was, and we exchanged a few special words.”
The Queen’s mother was apparently a fan of the club, and support for the Gunners runs in the family (but we’ll get to that later).
Jay-Z started supporting Arsenal through his close friendship with Thierry Henry.
A few years ago he said he wanted to buy shares in the club and even take a place in the Gunners’ boardroom. The rapper said that he and wife Beyonce Knowles would even move to London so he could be “involved in the decision-making” at the Emirates. Now that’s commitment.
“We would have to spend much more time in London. ‘Bey’ knows how much I love sports and has known about my interest in Arsenal for a while,” he said in 2010.
“I never want to be a back-seat investor. I want to be on the board, involved in the decision-making… I’m at the stage of my career where I am ready for another investment like this.
“I have really got into soccer over the last 10 years and I’ve been saying for some time I want a percentage of Arsenal.”
Prince Harry might have distanced himself from his family in the last few years but he still toes the line when it comes to football.
Like his grandmother and great-grandmother before him, Harry supports Arsenal and has been down to Highbury and the Emirates a few times over the years to watch them.
His brother and president of the FA Prince William, who supports Aston Villa, might be a more well-known football fan, but he outed his brother as a secret Gooner in 2018 while speaking to a group of students at a school in west London.
Rocket Ronnie O’Sullivan is arguably the greatest snooker player of all time, but has a passion for football too.
That’s because the Essex man loves Arsenal and often uses the the club as a distraction from the pressure of playing at the very pinnacle of his sport.
In 2015, bumped into his childhood hero Perry Groves, and despite his own regal status in sport, he admits he was completely star struck when they met.
Original posted at www.dailystar.co.uk