Osama Bin Laden: The Death of a Die-Hard Arsenal Fan

Yoosof Farah@@YoosofFarahSenior Writer IIIMay 3, 2011

Osama Bin Laden: An Arsenal Die-hard?
Osama Bin Laden: An Arsenal Die-hard?

Arsenal have many a celebrity fan, from Kevin Costner to Jay-Z to Colin Firth. And now it appears the most hated man on earth was also a diehard Gooner. 

Ever since "Obama got Osama," the world's headlines have been littered with all kinds of stories about Osama Bin Laden, including how he lived a life of luxury in a secluded, three-story $1 million compound.

But what some may not know is that Bin Laden was also rumoured to be an Arsenal fan, and a strong one at that.

During a recruitment trip to London in 1994, Osama Bin Laden apparently became transfixed on the team in red and white, watching as many of the Gunners' games as he possibly could.

According to some reports, he was in the famous Clock End terrace to see Arsenal beat Paris St. Germain and Torino in the European Cup Winners' Cup.

Any Arsenal fan reading this now could have once sat next to the man who would go on to become the most infamous, hated person the world has ever seen.

However, as soon as the Al-Qaeda leader gained notoreity and it was rumoured he supported Arsenal, his dreams of returning to see his beloved team from North London were dashed.

The Gunners responded to rumours of his affection with Arsenal, as a club spokesman told the media: "We've seen the reports in the papers. Clearly he wouldn't be welcome at Highbury in the future."

After becoming interested in football as a kid, having kickabouts with his friends on the dusty streets of Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, Bin Laden apparently became so in love with Arsenal, he gave one of his sons a replica Gunners shirt with Ian Wright's name and number on the back.

But of course his love for football didn't stop there, with it widely reported that Bin Laden used football as a recruitment tactic to see who could work well in a team and who the leaders out there were. The terror chief also used games of football as a source of camaraderie, according to reports. 

And so, while the world has become a safer place now Osama Bin Laden is gone, it appears Arsenal might well have lost the most high-profile fan they had. 

Source: BBC News, Bin Laden: Behind The Mask of Terror by Adam Robinson