San Francisco is home to one of the largest and most established branches of Arsenal America. On every matchday, a hugely passionate group of supporters from all over the Bay Area converges on a pub in the city's North Beach neighborhood. They arrive dressed in their Arsenal shirts ready to sing and yell -- usually well before 7:00am.
Why do these people wake up before dawn on weekend mornings to go to a bar? As branch manager Mark Barbeau explains:
Meet the fans: Bay Area Gooners
"Sure, you could watch the matches at home, on the couch, in your pajamas, but celebrating a goal with your housepet cannot possibly compare with theatmosphere at Maggie’s. Arsenal's former head of hospitality said that our group offers some of the best match-day atmosphere outside the stadium."
Year established: 2006
Number of active members: 350+
Home pub: Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub -- 1353 Grant Street (between Vallejo & Green in North Beach) San Francisco, CA 94133. (415) 399-9020.
"The Bay Area Gooners watch the majority their matches at Maggie McGarry’s Irish Pub in San Francisco’s historic North Beach neighborhood. All matches at Maggie’s are 21 and over only.
"However, in an effort to accommodate our under-21 members as well as those with children, we are scheduling a series of matches at Irish Times Pub in the Financial District. Irish Times is all-ages.
"Please check the schedule on our website find out where we will be on match day!
Where we hail from: “We are a really mixed group. From all over the Bay Area and the world. We have several members from Britain as well as supporters from Hungary, Africa, India, Canada, and cities all over the United States. We welcome all Gooners!”
Why we are Gooners: “Because besides being the greatest football club ever, Arsenal are pure class. Some were born into it, some came to it later, but we all share a passion for the club, its history, and its unique brand of foootball.”
Why Americans should be Arsenal fans: “Arsenal play the beautiful game the way it was meant to be played: with style and flair, developed young talent, and don't try to buy their way to silverware like some clubs we know..."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 21 Sep 2011