When Reading take on Arsenal in the FA Cup semifinal Saturday, 93-year-old Ciss Platten will be at Wembley to cheer them on. The Guardian figures that she'll be the only Reading fan in attendance who was alive the last time they advanced to the FA Cup semifinal, in 1927. The Guardian has an entire interview with Platten about her life and her soccer fandom, and she sounds like a goddamn riot.
She calls Arsène Wenger, "Arsène Whinger," and hates Arsenal because they used to let her dad down:
Yet her distaste for all things Arsenal runs a bit deeper, right back to the late 1920s. Blame her father, Arthur. "I didn't really know about football then but dad used to stand by the window on a Sunday morning checking his Pools coupon," Platten says. "And he'd say: 'Bloody hell, Arsenal have let me down again.'
"He was always grumbling about them. 'That blasted team' he called them. I think that's maybe why I've always disliked Arsenal."
She still takes the supporters' bus—which you probably associate more with drunken hooligans than 93-year-old women—to every away match:
Tony Taylor is one of Platten's regular "chauffeurs" for away matches, picking her up in Shiplake and taking her to the Madejski Stadium to catch the supporters' coach to wherever. And then taking her home on the late-night arrival back at the MadStad.
On Tuesday last week, it was off to Blackpool at Bloomfield Road. Just the 483-mile round trip for an essentially meaningless Championship fixture, which finished in a dismal 1-1 draw.
She used to leave her "old and miserable" husband behind when he wouldn't attend away matches:
"My husband used to go there," Platten says, "and I'd say to him: 'I don't know why you stand in the wet and cold watching that.' He got fed up with me going on then, one day, he said: 'Why don't you come along with me?' So I went to Elm Park … and that was it.
"He then got old and miserable and wouldn't go to the away games. So I said: 'I'm not stopping in.' I used to leave his food ready for him and I'd just go."
The full interview is great, and includes an adorable picture of Platten holding a big stuffed bear dressed in the Reading FC uniform. Just for her, I hope Reading clobber Arsenal.
Photo via Ian Walton/Getty
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