We've met two other branches from the eastern half of Pennsylvania, but now we look to the west. Once the center of the US steel industry, Pittsburgh has evolved into a city reknowned for it's diverse economy, culture and of course, sports. But as you might expect in a place that was once dubbed "The City of Champions" -- Pittsburgh is not a place for the light-hearted supporter. As Branch Manager Jared OzVath says:
"All we ask is that you have a passion for the Club. We will take care of the rest."
Group Name: Pittsburgh Gooners
Location: Pittsburgh, PA
Year established: Fall of 2011
Number of active members: "We have about 25 members who float in and out of watching matches due to work schedules. On a big match day we easily get 12-15 Gooners at the pub."
Where we watch matches: Piper's Pub - 1828 East Carson Street, Pittsburgh, PA 15203. (412) 381-2797
"Piper's is an all clubs pub which is one of the genius moves that the owner made for his business. We all have the desire to watch together separately but that is normally trumped by the desire to see the match at the pub. It just feels right that way."
Where our members hail from: "Most are local to the Pittsburgh area. We've been graced with the presence of (former Arsenal America President) David Kilpatrick on occasion and one visitor came from as far away as Hong Kong to take in a match with us. We have a strong Scottish/English/Welsh ex-patriot presence in the pub but they support all different clubs although there are a few Gooners in there as well."
The group's beginnings: "In a loose structure -- meaning no structure whatsoever -- Gooners have trickled into Piper's to take in matches ever since they started to show EPL fixtures back to 1999. Several of us decided recently to solidify the regulars in an endeavor to have a stronger week-in and week-out presence for matches.
"In true Pittsburgh fashion it sort of just happened. Enough passionate fans with enough interest and desire to make this a reality. We decided to form a more structured group when we simply wanted to get to know each other better and to provide a sense of belonging to other Arsenal supporters in the area and those that might be visiting. After our launch response was extremely positive. There were a lot of people saying 'finally'."
Arsenal in Pittsburgh: "Premier League football has a good following in our city. There are fans of all sides. Piper's caters to all of them. Arsenal has one of the larger fan bases and is always well represented on match day.
"One member chose Arsenal as a kid to be rebellious against his all United family. Our age demographic goes across a large scale. Many were brought in by the success of the early 2000's but some draw their allegiance to before the 70-71 double. A common theme is that we all loved or came to love how Arsenal plays the game.."
Group's favorite Arsenal moments: "One of the funniest was the North London Derby in the fall of 2012. There were a lot of Arsenal and Tottenham fans at the pub and there was an invisible line down the middle of the place. Arsenal fans were arrayed at the bar rail and the Spurs fans were all sitting at tables opposite. There was this no man's land between us. As for Arsenal in general obviously the Invincibles is the time everyone still talks about. Henry's return goal vs Leeds last year also ranks up there."29 Jan 2013