Arsenal visit New York for the very first time this week - and our USA editor Kevin Mooney describes an interesting cross-country journey for two fans...
As we pointed out yesterday, the turn-out for this week's #ArsenalNYC events will be huge. In the case of Friday night's #14thStIsRed events, it will be unprecedented. Gooners from all over North America are already making their way to New York City.
Two of them, Jordan and Channelle Wiebe from Fresno, California, are taking the long way and doing it with a purpose.
One week ago, they packed up their car and left Fresno for a 6,000 mile, month-long journey they call 'We All Follow The Arsenal'.
On a basic level, it’s a road trip for two passionate fans to see their beloved Arsenal in person.
But it’s so much more than that.
During their trip, the pair are visiting fellow Arsenal fans all around the United States in their natural habitats - aka the local pubs where they watch Arsenal matches - and documenting their travels for a one-of-a-kind book project.
In Jordan's words, the book will be a 30-page art book inspired by their experiences and celebrating the community of Gooners in North America. As he explains in his Kickstarter video, the book will combine Arsenal-inspired design, photos and prints that they create along the way.
It's been an eventful trip so far. After cruising through California, Arizona, New Mexico and the Texas panhandle, their first major stop was Oklahoma City, where they literally left their mark. Channelle, who happens to be a very talented tattoo artist, inked up one of the members of the Sooner Gooners with one of her original Arsenal-inspired designs.
From there they visited with the other arm of the Sooner Gooners in Tulsa before turning north to meet up with the Kansas City Gooners and hit a Sporting Kansas City match. By Monday they made it to Chicago and had a big night out with the Chicago Gooners before moving on to Cleveland. After that, it's straight on to New York.
It's a good time to be a Gooner. This is a pretty special opportunity to do something really, really cool like this. So that's why we're doing itJordan Wiebe
So what has been their favourite part of the journey so far? Channelle has enjoyed asking how everyone became Arsenal fans. She noted the big variety of experiences and ways each person has connected with the club. She said that it seems like everyone has at that "one moment" when they became hooked.
As for Jordan, he has loved learning about the traditions branches create for themselves to make their watching experience unique. He was inspired by their creativity and insists that if you ever make it to Tulsa or Chicago be sure to ask about "Paddy's at George's" and "the Gangway of Broken Dreams" respectively.
They did experience one hiccup en route."It's been a fantastic trip so far, save for the car repairs," Jordan said. "Those blown semi-truck tyres floating around the interstate will get you. All is well now though."
In case you are wondering, this isn’t their first foray into Arsenal art. Back in May, they hosted an Arsenal Art Hop at Peeve's, the home pub of the Fresno Gooners. Many of the artists, including Jordan - whose work was featured at that event - will also be on hand in New York on Friday night as part of the "This Big Gun on Your Chest" art show at The Winslow on 14th St. Be sure not to miss it!