If you are in the Santa Barbara area be sure to meet up with the local branch of Arsenal America!

Meet the fans: Santa Barbara


Group name: Santa Barbara Gooners 
Location: Santa Barbara, California
Home Pub: The Press Room
15 E Ortega St, Santa Barbara
Facebook: SBGooners
Twitter: @SBGooners
Email: SBGooners@gmail.com

When you look at where most Arsenal supporters groups in the USA get together to watch matches, you tend to find that they meet at dedicated “Gooner bars” or mixed-club pubs that have no official allegiance.

But in Santa Barbara, California, Arsenal fans found themselves invading “enemy territory.”

John Felts founded the Santa Barbara Gooners in 2013 after he started regularly watching matches at the Press Room, a downtown bar. He befriended the owner and some of the other Premier League fans he met there. But he was in odd company.

It turns out, the owner is a Manchester United fan.

“Press Room is a United bar,” Felts admitted. “And there also seems to be a lot of expats residing in Santa Barbara that are Spurs fans.”

But that didn’t stop him or other Gooners from frequenting the place. He said said you can usually expect up to a couple of dozen Arsenal fans for a big game and the mix of fans from rival clubs just adds to atmosphere.

“Having these three clubs represented here makes for great times on match day,” Felts said. “Expect to hear yelling, chanting and singing, and on occasion some heated banter. But all in good fun.”

The atmosphere also gets a boost by the big number of traveling supporters that visit the area known for its beaches, resorts and year-round festivals.

“Santa Barbara is a high tourist destination, so we may get a lot of passing through Gooners who visit the pub for a match,” he added, “You will always meet a lot of Germans, British, and other nationalities traveling through.”

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 Kevin Mooney 27 Jan 2014