This Is Who We Are: The New York City Arsenal Supporters

In 2008, in an effort to establish some unity among Arsenal supporters at Nevada Smiths, Kurtis Powers and Brett Chase decided to start introducing themselves to the various people watching Arsenal separately. A few handshakes resulted in the creation of the New York City Arsenal Supporters…

This Is Who We Are: The New York City Arsenal Supporters

We are local, vocal, of as many ethnicities and backgrounds as make up New York.
We are organized but relaxed in attitude, intensely passionate about Arsenal but reasonable enough to objectively discuss the sport with opposing fans.
We are American and Arsenal ’til we die.

There are millions of Arsenal supporters around the world, and none are lesser for being from somewhere other than England. This is one reason why we started the NYC Arsenal Supporters, as a way to bring these Arsenal fans here together. Over time, we’ve seen good friendships develop within the group, and even if there are a few minor personality conflicts, the days when we gather together to sing up and cheer on the Arsenal, all disputes are forgotten in our unity behind the club. We are a red & white family, in the end.

We have seen our numbers swell from our early days at Nevada Smiths with a small, hardcore group of 10-15 to our present days at The Blind Pig, when a 7:45am match against an opponent as nondescript as Blackburn (no offense… oh who am I kidding, I hate Blackburn) will draw upwards of fifty, and a match against a “name” opponent means well over 100. To the cynical, such growth could only mean more Americans latching on to an English club for a while as a fad, but those of us who have watched this group grow and mature know better. The numbers may have increased, but we all still sing with the same heart (and volume), display our colors with as much pride, and love the Arsenal just as much as any Gooner from N5.

American Gooners spend loads of their own hard-earned money on shirts and other items expressing their love for the club. That’s not even to mention the number who spend thousands of dollars to go to London and other places to see the Gunners play whenever possible. Supporting a club in another country with this kind of zeal takes a true commitment, that is more than financial. It is a sacrifice demonstrated by the great number of us who turn out each weekend here in NYC for every match, singing proudly, win, lose or draw, and it’s a sacrifice that we gladly make.

It’s obviously far more difficult to be an Arsenal fan here in New York, or indeed, anywhere across America than it is for supporters from London or anywhere else in Britain; as it is for many of us here, their families indoctrinate them into supporting a team. While there are a few among the NYC Arsenal Supporters who are from North London or England, the majority of us have been drawn to Arsenal some other way. I know for myself, I did not arbitrarily choose a club and start following them; in a way, Arsenal chose me as much as I chose Arsenal. I expect it was the same for all of us.

We are American, we are New York, we are Arsenal ‘til we die. And we provide another meaning behind the line, “We all follow the Arsenal, over land and sea.”
This is who we are. The New York City Arsenal Supporters. A club, a religion, a family.


Okay, some brief notes on Arsenal and our event this weekend. As we all know, Theo picked up a nasty ankle injury, putting him out 4-6 weeks (since it's Theo, probably 8 weeks). This came after Capello announced the England physios' prognosis that it would only be 2 weeks. The whole thing reminds me of van Persie's injury for Holland last year: an international match (read: positively useless) where the injury was caused by a challenge that wasn't terrible. The most disconcerting similarity however, is that in each case, the national team's physician's prognosis was optimistic to the point of lying, and this I fear will become a trend. By the time the ugly truth about the injury is found out, the international break is over and their coaches and staff aren't under a microscope anymore, as they've fucked off like a thief in the night.

The other notable injury from this catastrophic round of USELESS FUCKING INTERNATIONAL MATCHES was a slight achilles tendon injury for Tom Vermaelen, meaning he will miss the Bolton match tomorrow. While I think we all wanted a look at new boy Sebastien Squillaci, this is hardly the way any of us would've had it. We may have Samir Nasri back for tomorrow, which is a small boon in a sea of misery. In all, after seeing John Terry and Frank Lampard excused from the England squad through "injury," only for Ancelotti to marvel at how well they had "healed" during the Switzerland v England match. Not for nothing, but if Arsene is so concerned with the risk of injury to his own players during international matches, I think we could all appreciate a little less honesty when it comes to injuries. What are the national teams going to do, demand to examine the player?

Finally, we come to the main event of the weekend if you're an Arsenal supporter in NYC this weekend, the TH14 extravaganza. The itinerary includes a sort of Gooner social at our old haunt Nevada Smiths tonight, then the Bolton match at our new home the Blind Pig tomorrow morning (kickoff is at 10am, but with about 200 people expected, you'll do well to arrive earlier than that). Tomorrow afternoon, we head out to Harrison, NJ to see the great Thierry Henry himself leading Red Bull New York against Stan Kroenke's Colorado Rapids; afterward, those who have paid for tickets with us will be able to meet Arsenal's all-time leading scorer himself. Our contact at Red Bulls tells us that Thierry is very excited about the event, so let's make sure we sing his name loudly and proudly, during and after the match. In honor of our hero, here is the greatest picture ever taken of Thierry Henry:

Anyone with questions about the event or who wish to purchase the few remaining seats can email, or reach out to Kurtis and myself on facebook at NYC Arsenal Supporters, or visit the Special thanks for extraordinary efforts in making this a reality go out to Arsenal America president Josh Templeton and vice-president Kurtis Powers. Well done, brothers.

I hope to see everyone out tonight or at least tomorrow, this really will be a once in a lifetime event, and is already the biggest Arsenal event ever held in North America. Until then... VIVE L'ARSENAL!!! VIVE L'HENRY!!!