As Arsenal - and the fans- arrived in New York, our USA editor Kevin Mooney describes how he saw the start of the trip's first full day...
The team arrived late Wednesday night and spent Thursday morning getting acclimated to a country Arsenal haven’t visited in 25 years. Meanwhile, more and more fans were still rolling into town from all over North America. If you ever need a reminder of how big this continent is, consider that many fans traveled nearly as far as the team.
Take my own trip from Portland which was roughly 2,500 miles. Granted, it’s not as if i was rolling across the frontier like pioneers on the Oregon Trail. Rather than a covered wagon, I took a red-eye. So no dysentery. I’m just a bit sleepy.
Others had more taxing trips. Consider a guy named Lee Herdman. He took a bus. From Fort Worth, Texas. For 36 hours.
But I digress.
I have to be clear, that from my perspective, there was very little that was normal about my Thursday morning.
To give you a sense of the day I had, the start of it anyway, within five minutes of arriving at the hotel in New York, I looked up to see Aaron Ramsey greeting everyone as he entered the restaurant for breakfast. Not long after that, Arsene Wenger walked by. A few minutes later, I stepped into the elevator with Hector Bellerin, Damien Martinez and Jon Toral.
I’ll be blunt: it was not easy to play it cool. Which is one of the ways that I stand out from everyone else at the moment (I also seem to talk funny) - the rest of the Club staff are clearly used to this. But it’s just not every day that I look up from where I am sitting and see Steve Bould walk by. Or Jack Wilshere. Or Tomas Rosicky. And oh! Santi Cazorla!
In fact, as I started writing this - and I swear this is completely true, I’m not just phishing for clicks - Jack, Kieran, Aaron and Abou were sitting literally 10 feet away from me. Flamini just sat down next to them. And then the rest of the team followed suit.
And that’s all before any of the day’s actual events.
The day’s official events started with the Emirates Business Breakfast featuring Arsene Wenger. The boss touched on a number of topics - but the general theme was “success.”
“There are many ingredients for success,”he told the audience. “But what is so important is going out on the pitch and not being scared to lose.
“Memory is a very important part of success… it’s memory when you walk out in front of 60,000 people you have to believe you can win.
“Everyone has a talent, so find what that talent is and find something that allows you to do that. The people who make it usually have the tenacity, the consistency of motivation. I know people who start a diet on January 1. Some of them finish on January 31, some finish on June 30, and some diet for the whole year.”
The invited business leaders then had a turn at questioning the boss, with the highlight coming from a US-based Leeds United fan. He requested that Wenger take over at Elland Road should he ever leave Arsenal.
The boss was full of praise for the Yorkshire club…. but politely declined.
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