One 2 Eleven with Hardeep Singh Kohli Writer and broadcaster on the highs and lows of following Arsenal

Hardeep 1 - photocredit, Steve Ullathorne

Hardeep’s show at Edinburgh was a success (photo: Steve Ullathorne)

Broadcaster, writer and Celebrity Masterchef finalist Hardeep Singh Kohli was born in London but raised in Glasgow after his family moved there when he was aged four.

After tantalising the tastebuds of audiences across the UK with his culinary skills and anecdotes, Hardeep is about to embark on his debut comedy stand up show following a successful season at the Edinburgh Fringe Festival in October.

On top of his many pieces in the national press, Hardeep is also a regular panellist on Channel 5’s hugely popular current affairs show The Wright Stuff and has been a reporter on BBC1’s The One Show and a guest on Question Time and This Week with Andrew Neil.

Hardeep is an Arsenal fan.

Tell us about the first time you went to see the Arsenal play…
It was Highbury, 1998. It was the season of Berkamp. The season of the double. I’d been following them since I’d moved to London in ’92 and couldn’t believe I was actually at the stadium to watch them play. We beat Bolton 4-1 with Wrighty beating the club’s goal scoring record. Great days…

What players were your childhood heroes and why…?
Liam Brady was possibly the most cultured footballer of his generation. A European style player in a very English game. I loved Charlie George, an Islington lad playing for his club.

What’s your fondest memory as a fan….?
So many! Beating spurs is obviously amazing, as it was this season. But watching Michael Thomas score that second goal at Anfield in 1989 and secure us the league. Has there been a more dramatic conclusion to the league?

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Michael Thomas proves there was drama before Sky and the Premier League…

Looking back, the one player I really wished we’d signed was…
We’re talking about Arsenal, there’s a massive list! Recently despite my ambivalence about the man himself, I wish we’d signed Suarez. Much as he’s a bitey racist, he’s a phenomenal player. I also thought we should have signed Drogba when we had the chance.

What’s your greatest “I was there when…” moment..?
Beating Spurs this season was fairly amazing. It’s difficult to convey the emotion in the ground on those days.

Bergkamp or Wright…?
Bergkamp. Ian hasn’t been as supportive of the club as he might have been. I’ll never forgive him for encouraging Sean to sign for the Sheik and so become another lost player in the Man City project.

Which is your favourite ever Arsenal kit…?
I love the new Puma kit! But I’m an Adidas boy, born and bred, so the late 80’s kit…

Which team do you despise the most and why (apart from Spurs!)…?
Man United. Obviously. The Spuds haven’t really been a force to reckon with of late. United have become our new nemesis so this is a rather weird season.

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Mad Jens sees ‘rot’

What was your most crushing blow as a fan..?
Not winning anything for the best part of a decade and losing Cesc and RvP at their prime. But for a single incident I’d say mad Jens being sent-off in the Champions League final…

Have you met any players, past or present..?
Quite a few. Love Charlie George. Just a brilliant guy. Similarly big Frank McLintock was great to talk to. Interviewed the Ox and Carl J for the club which was an honour. Have worked with Martin Keown who is an absolute gent. And Lee Dixon is a lovely man.

But of them all Bob Wilson is my dearest friend. I’m an ambassador for his and Megs charity, Willow. As a former goalkeeper myself it means a lot to know him.

Do you have a favourite away ground…?
I don’t travel away for numerous dull reasons. My mate Lodgey keeps promising to take me…

Will Wilshere still be playing for Arsenal in 5 years time…?
Yes he will. We will be champions, we will have won the Champions League and we will be the most solvent club in works football.

Do you think Wenger is still the right man for the job…?
Who is out there to replace him?

Will the Gooners win something this season…?
Yes; Management Accounts of the Year.

 

Hardeep Singh Kohli’s tour ‘Hardeep Is Your Love’ kicks off this month.

 

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