Ian Wright, Alex Scott: Arsenal legends pay tribute after death of superfan Maria Petri

Arsenal superfan Maria Petri

Lifelong football fanatic and Arsenal super-fan Maria Petri has sadly passed away, the North London club has confirmed.

The avid Gooner, who followed the men’s, women’s and youth teams around the world, dedicated her entire life to the beautiful game.

Her commitment to the women’s game made her one of the most recognised faces within the community. She was adored by the Arsenal players, their fans, and so many others.

In the wake of the heartbreaking news, thousands have paid tribute to Maria and her extraordinary life and love for football.

Among the fans posting emotional messages on Twitter are Arsenal legends Ian Wright and Alex Scott, who both spent time with Maria on numerous occasions.

“Arsenal through and through,” Scott began her tear-jerking post. “Thank you for the love, the passion, the songs and support for us @ArsenalWFC from the very beginning.

“We will never forget you Maria, We love you #COYG.”

Wright has retweeted numerous posts about Maria, including past photos he uploaded of the two at matches together, accompanied simply by broken heart emojis.

The Arsenal Women’s Supporters Club posted a series of photos of Maria over the years, alongside the caption: “Our Maria. We will miss you.”

The players have also paid tribute to their lifelong supporter, who rarely ever missed an opportunity to watch her beloved Gunners in action — no matter the fixture, location or weather conditions.

“Maria you were our biggest supporter, with the best songs and had the most infectious smile,” Katie McCabe wrote. “A true Gooner through and through.”

“I’m devastated to hear the news about Maria,” Arsenal defender and England captain Leah Williamson tweeted. “Words will never be enough to describe the importance of Maria to Arsenal.”

Beth Mead, who is one of the many players Maria had original chants about, also paid tribute.

“Maria I’m absolutely devastated to hear the news. A fan and woman like no other. Irreplaceable. A true inspiration and hero.

“Rest easy, it won’t be the same without you.”

Maria’s love for football

During a captivating interview with Mundial magazine, Maria revealed how she found her love for the beautiful game.

Her Greek-Cypriot parents moved to the UK in 1938 and a year later, Maria was born. At age 12, she heard of Arsenal on the radio and immediately fell in love.

Her house is a tribute to her biggest passion — a treasure trove of memorabilia from her many years following the Gunners from game to game. Including a scarf from Arsenal Women’s famous quadruple winning season and a life-size cardboard cutout of Héctor Bellerín.

On match days with Arsenal Women, Maria could be heard louder than anyone else in the crowd. She rarely missed a match — always turning up with a huge smile on her face to support her team wherever they ended up.

In the interview, Maria said: “I’m in love with the Arsenal. That’s all I can say. Because I don’t have a family of my own, not a nuclear family anyway, Arsenal are my family.”

Arsenal superfan Maria Petri
Arsenal super fan Maria Petri speaks to the players after the WSL match between Arsenal Women and Manchester City at Meadow Park on May 11, 2019 in Borehamwood, England. (Photo by Catherine Ivill/Getty Images)

She also made one of the most heartbreaking admissions when she revealed why the thought of dying bothered her.

“I shall be oh so upset when I die,” Maria said, reflecting on conversations she had with others. “And they say, ‘why Maria?’

“Well, I won’t be able to watch Arsenal anymore.”

Arsenal’s biggest supporter, home and away. Rest in peace, Maria Petri.

We love Maria, we do. Oh, Maria, we love you…

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