Sometimes it pays to have a father who’s a well-known pop star. Especially when it comes to making footballing dreams come true.
Capital Radio breakfast show DJ Roman Kemp knows this only too well, as it’s thanks to his dad, Martin Kemp, that he got to score a goal at Highbury.
Roman, who was appearing on White Wine Question Time, was asked by podcast host Kate Thornton about his most magical childhood memories and the I’m A Celebrity star had no doubt about which memory he would cherish forever – a kick-about on his beloved Arsenal’s pitch!
Explaining how the love of Arsenal runs in his family, Roman said he was allowed to bunk off school one day back in 2006 to accompany dad Martin to Highbury to buy some very special turf. Arsenal, who had played at Highbury for 93 years, were set to move to their brand new Emirates Stadium.
“We had this opportunity whereby, when Highbury was being demolished, they were actually cutting up the grass and giving away pieces of the grass,” he explained.
“Now, I was a massive Arsenal fan, and, you know, obviously my dad being really sentimental with the ground, he actually gave me the morning off school to go with him and go and collect the piece of grass in person.”
So far, so good. But what Roman didn’t know was that his visit to the closing ground was going to get even better.
The pair were among the first to arrive and due to Martin’s pop star status, he was asked by news teams there covering the event to say a few words on camera.
“They came over to my dad and they were like, ‘Martin, Martin can we get an interview? Just get in a couple of words on why Highbury so special to you.’” Roman recalled, revealing his dad said he would only do the interviews if they got him and Roman onto the pitch.
Roman continued: “They had a couple of conversations with the club and they let me and my dad play on the pitch at Highbury.
We were the last people to score a goal on there, because they took up the turf literally in front of us right when we got off. It was just the two of us. It was something that, still to this day, that we say to each other, I can't believe we did that!’
Kate commented that such a negotiating tactic from Martin was very unlike the Spandau Ballet guitarist.
Roman replied: “It is very unlike him. He's always too giving, so that was really, really nice. It was a good move from him!”
Unfortunately, while the memory will undoubtedly last a lifetime, the piece of Highbury turf didn’t fare quite so well.
“Honestly, it lasted about two weeks in my mum's flower bed,” laughed Roman, who was 13 at the time.
“I don't know if she purposefully got rid of it, but it did not last long. I think my mum kind of said, ‘Well, you've got to look after it.’ And then obviously I'm no good at that.”
Hear Martin Kemp talk more about this family, his life in lockdown and why he thinks Piers Morgan is suddenly making a lot of sense on the latest episode of White Wine Question Time. Listen now on iTunes and Spotify.