One of the largest and most established of Arsenal America's branches is in San Francisco where a hugely passionate group supporters from all over the Bay Area converges on a pub in North Beach. 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:
"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."
Group Name: Bay Area Gooners
Location: San Francisco, CA
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. 21+ only please.
Where our Gooners hail from: “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..."
In addition to meeting for matches, the Bay Area Gooners are known for raising money for charity and holding fundraising events. In early 2010, they raised nearly $2,000 for Save the Children’s relief efforts in Haiti by playing a 'North London derby' against a local Tottenham supporters group. And as you would expect, the Bay Area Gooner came out on top.Copyright 2013 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