In Wisconsin, the word "goal" usually invokes images of a small net on a big sheet of ice. But in Madison's multinational melting pot, a loyal group of fans are introducing the Badger faithful to the Arsenal. As branch manager Andrew Schmidt says:
"We're a fun, laid back group who really get behind the team, so leave your drama or overly-negative attitudes at home. If you're in or around Madison - even just visiting - we'd love to see you at the pub. And you've got no excuse now that you know where we'll be!"
Meet the fans: ASC Madison
Year established: 2012
Number of active members: "Most matches we average 15-20 and for big matches like Spurs, United, and Liverpool, we have anywhere between 30-50 depending on the kickoff time."
Where we watch matches: The Coopers Tavern - 20 W. Mifflin St, Madison WI 53703. (608) 256-1600
"We're constantly working to make the match day viewing experience better, and the Madison supporters get a discount on match days at our home pub. The food is great and the pints are cold. It’s a perfect excuse to get out of bed on frigid, snowy Wisconsin winter mornings to make the trek downtown to a warm pub to watch the boys."
The group's beginnings: "We founded the "official" group at the start of the 2012 - 2013, although a fair amount have been watching together for four or five years. Most of our group work for a locally-based software company who recruits from all over the world. So we're a fairly diverse group."
Arsenal in Wisconsin: "Arsenal is becoming more well known all over the States and Madison is no exception. We have a fair bit of notoriety and among football fans in Madison you generally have two opinions about Arsenal; people either love or loathe our fine club.
"The great Brian Clough was once asked what he thought about Wenger's Invincibles besting his unbeaten streak with Nottingham Forest and he famously retorted, "Well it sticks in the crawl a little bit because it's Arsenal. Nobody likes Arsenal; only Arsenal fans like Arsenal”, and that’s been pretty true in our experience."
Memorable moments: "Obviously the back-to-back 5-2 North London Derby wins were amazing to see, as well as Thierry's return to score the winner against Leeds.
"As far as special events, we're starting to work on a plan to visit the Emirates as a group. It'll be a "pilgrimage to the holy land" of sorts for many of us who have never been to a match. We'd also love to work out some trips to visit other supporters' groups for matches. This past March, our group participated in St Baldrick's Day and were able to raise almost $5000 for children's cancer research in roughly two weeks' time."Copyright 2014 The Arsenal Football Club plc. Permission to use quotations from this article is granted subject to appropriate credit being given to www.arsenal.com as the source 9 May 2013