As one of the biggest, best and most successful football clubs in the world, Arsenal have attracted legions of fans from Angola to Australia, Beirut to Baghdad and Kenya to Kazakhstan (we strongly suspect Borat is a Gunner). Among the millions of fans who visit the Emirates to watch a game live, and the many more who support Arsenal from afar, there are a good number of celebrities who support the club.
We will take a closer look at some of the highest-profile famous Arsenal fans out there. We won’t be including former players or managers, nor do we have any interest in whether or not Osama Bin Laden came to the odd game. Equally, no matter how famous the celebrity, coming to one game, wearing the shirt in a photo shoot, or posting on social media occasionally does not qualify someone as a real supporter. We’re talking serious fans only.
There are some very well-known people who support the Gunners but are not exactly universally loved and could be considered controversial. For that reason, we’ll start with Idris Elba, a celebrity we think most, if not perhaps quite all, Gunners will be happy to have in the fold.
Elba, touted to be lined up as the first black James Bond, has worked in TV, music and films, but may be best known for his role in The Wire, and also as DCI John Luther in the BBC classic Luther. He has spoken many times about his love of the Gunners and back in 2017 near the end of the Arsène Wenger era, he told (BBC TV show) Football Focus that he would be “physically ill, literally throwing up,” if Spurs won the title. More recently he has spoken of his approval of Mikel Arteta and also the belief that Arsenal will win the league soon – let’s hope he’s right!
Sticking to celebrities who are about as close to universally popular as it is possible to be, four-time Olympic gold medallist Mo Farah is also an avowed Gunner. Mo has waxed lyrical about his love of the Arsenal and has even trained with the squad. He has talked, semi-seriously we think, about a desire to be the club’s fitness coach and if he could pass on his incredible stamina to the players it would certainly help with a high press! Recently he said in an interview, “I’ve been a Gooner since I was a kid, and that passion has never waned.” And there is little doubt that he is one of the most passionate and committed famous Arsenal fans around.
Moving onto a more controversial Gunner, we have former Labour leader Jeremy Corbyn. An out-and-out left-winger, Corbyn is still the MP for Islington North so doesn’t have far to travel to attend games. He has listed Dennis Bergkamp and Ian Wright among his favourite players in the past and, no matter what you think of his politics, has used his position to help both Arsenal and football fans in general. In relation to the former, he has praised the team through signing parliamentary motions and in relation to the latter, he has campaigned to introduce better rights for fans, especially concerning away-day rail travel.
Sticking with love-them-or-hate-them Marmite characters but moving to a very different type of politics, we have everyone’s favourite/least favourite rent-a-gob, Piers Morgan. Again, no matter what you think of the former Daily Mirror editor, there is no questioning his credentials as a lover of Arsenal.
Morgan loves a Twitter spat and he is certainly very vocal on the social media platform (now called X) when it comes to Arsenal. Goading famous fans of other clubs is almost a hobby of his and he is certainly rather quieter when the club are not doing so well. In typical Morgan style, he has not been shy about criticising his own team as well though, with Arsène Wenger and Aaron Ramsey just two to have repeatedly been lambasted by the TV host.
Moving onto safer ground, Rolling Stones legend, Mick Jagger, is a huge Arsenal fan who is spotted at games on a fairly regular basis. Jagger, who turned 80 in July 2023, was born in Dartford, Kent, so not exactly a natural-born Gunner. Even so, the iconic frontman is a big fan of many sports including cricket, and as well as taking in Arsenal games, also follows the England national team closely.
We are rather dropping down the celebrity scale here but very much moving up in terms of passion for Arsenal. Comedian Davies, the star of Jonathan Creek and a regular on the TV show QI, has supported the Gunners all his life and had a season ticket for many years too. He even hosted an Arsenal-based podcast for a while and regularly discusses the club and his passion for it on a range of forums.
We stay at the lower end of the famous-ometer but again right at the top of the Arsenal-fan-ometer with Nick Hornby. His memoir, Fever Pitch, was essentially an ode to Arsenal and his love, even obsession, with the club. It sold millions of copies and was also made into a stage play and two films (a UK and a US version). It details his lifelong love affair with Arsenal and, understandably, is a bit of a cult hit both with football fans and Arsenal fans, but even among those with no great interest in football. The book was named Sports Book of the Year in 1992 and any Arsenal supporters yet to read it should certainly seek it out.
Martin Kemp was huge in the 1980s as part of Spandau Ballet before once again becoming a household name for his role in Eastenders around the turn of the new millennium. The star of music and TV, married to Shirlie of Pepsi & Shirlie 1980s pop fame, was born in Islington so has strong Gunner credentials. He spent his formative years living close to Arsenal’s old ground, Highbury, and has supported the club all his life. He has often spoken of his love of the club and even released a video of himself singing an Oleksandr Zinchenko chant to the tune of Spandau Ballet’s classic hit, Gold.