Arsenal America -it’s time for a tour in the States

So I’m sitting here watching Fever Pitch (the good one) on my Christmas break.  I figured, why not try to fill the void this week with the Arsenal film.  Being so far away from N5 one can feel abandoned at times.  Not only is the stadium an ocean away, but we don’t even get to see the team during pre-season.  But with Kroenke purchase, I’m hoping this might, finally, be changing.  It’s time for a US tour, if not for the team, then for the fans.

Arsene has made it clear he isn’t interested in a US pre-season tour.  Unfortunately, for all of his vision, this is one area I think Arsene misses the big picture.  Other teams take a tour in the States -ManU, Liverpool, Chelsea.  Even the big teams from Spain and Italy drop by.  Yes, it’s about the money, but it’s also about a global brand and global fan base.  As much as we love the team in the States, catching a match can be difficult.

For instance, this past summer I went to games featuring Chelsea, AC and Barca.  One thing was clear -the fan base for football is here.  Stadiums of 60-70 thousand were sold out.  But more importantly, the fans in America were able to show their support for the team.  We laugh, we cry, we bleed and we chant in our pubs and homes (not to mention sitting in class watching our slovak online feeds).  But we always do it from thousands of miles away.  But a friendly in the States would let us be fans at a live game.

Arsene forgets this in Austria.  While he might have the team isolated for the Wenger method high in the Alps, he can just as easily bring the team to the States for a couple of games.  One in NY and one in LA would be fine (although SF would be best!).  We’ll travel in our caravans and jump on planes.  We won’t miss our one shot to miss the Arsenal live.

Yes, between cable and the “interweb” catching a match or highlights would seem to be easier than ever.  But it’s not.  And it’s just not the same.  Arsenal TV Online just doesn’t quite cut it.  It starts with the timing.  On those Saturday mornings that we can, the diehards gather at the local Gooner bar.  As I told our English Gooner mate Stephen, much to his surprise, there are Gooner bars all over the States.  Painfully though, games on the West Coast often start at the unholy hour of 7 AM on a Saturday.

As for those other games, as a fan living in America we spend our time scrounging around the web watching live feeds from eastern european and middle eastern countries.  Thankfully some gunner sites provide links.

So here, in this one area for potential clashing between Arsene and Kroenke, I have to ask: Arsene please think bigger?  Traveling with the team is not just about training, it’s not just about money.  It’s also about the fans.  Give us a break.  Two meaningless games that let us chant for the team in person like we do in our pubs, our homes and in the back of our classrooms.

-the student

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