Morgan Rubes from Arsenal Canada talks packing pubs, podcasts and ‘Friend-ly’ firepower.
Across the country, whether it is skipping out of work early, taking a late lunch or even extending that lunch into the second half, Canadians will be watching Arsenal take on Swansea City on Monday. The match airs on an expensive subscription channel that many people do not have. But the bars do and that’s where we will be.
Our club has nearly doubled in size this year. It’s in large part due to the visit of the Arsenal to New York last summer. It is also due to the success of the supporters’ pubs in major cities like Toronto, Calgary, Vancouver and Montreal.
I will be at the Midtown Gastro Hub (1535 Yonge Street), our home in Toronto, with about 150 other singing supporters. Calgary’s pub, The Pig and Duke, will have a solid showing of over 60 and Vancouver’s The Pint should have similar attendance.
"Our club has nearly doubled in size this year. It’s in large part due to the visit of the Arsenal to New York last summer"
Sadly, weekday matches do not typically hit capacity. One notable exception was the FA Cup match against Manchester United when it was nearly elbow room only. Our pub, with the patio space, can have more than 400 on a matchday, just look at the image from last year’s FA Cup final. It hit capacity over an hour before kick-off. That is our goal every week so that we can have an overflow pub like The Blind Pig in New York.
Everyone builds up for the match differently: listening to podcasts, reading blogs, and a large number of us work those media too.
I get prepared for a match by doing research on the head-to-head history, I read Josh James’ statistical pieces on Arsenal.com and then I write my referee preview called The Third Yellow for Premier Punditry. Writing a blog and working on a podcast requires a lot of reading and analysis so I like to feel I'm up to date on all things Arsenal.
When it comes to Swansea, it has been tight over the years. When you think Arsenal are favoured against the Swans, they drop points, but when things look bleak, Kieran Gibbs scores a goal in the FA Cup out of nowhere.
The thing that excites me for this match, and I hope that Wenger sees this, is that Alexis Sanchez, Olivier Giroud and Theo Walcott share one cool statistic. They were all held off the scoresheet in their first appearance with Kevin Friend (the match referee) but since then they have each scored at least one goal per game in matches he has officiated.
The stats are interesting because, while they could mean nothing, they could also mean everything. Alexis, Giroud and Walcott should have Swansea shaking in their boots.
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Website - www.arsenalcanada.ca
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