ArsenalAmerica Road Trip - Post Mortem

Best of the Blogs - Arsenal America

By Mike Feinberg

I’m on the plane back to Washington DC from London after one of my best weeks in recent memory. I’ve not previously attended a Road Trip but I’d have to imagine this year’s ArsenalAmerica Road Trip was the best one yet. I’d like to share some of our activities and experiences with all who may be considering joining ArsenalAmerica, or who are already members and may consider joining the next Road Trip.

I’ve been an Arsenal supporter for a long, long time but outside of the time I lived in London as a teen I’ve always cheered (and suffered) through season after season in solitude. This is, until about a year ago when I started attending matches at our local pub in DC – The Lucky Bar. There I’ve met dozens of rabid fellow supporters and have become friends with many.

This companionship surrounding the Arsenal took its next step when Arsenal came to NYC in July, which is when I got involved in ArsenalAmerica. What an amazing event that was with unbelievable effort and organisation put together by the AA crew – and so when they announced a Road Trip to my favourite city in the world to catch two Arsenal games in person with fellow supporters – it was too good an opportunity to turn down.

Arsenal America

Arsenal America


What I couldn’t have imagined is how much fun and busy this trip would be! Thanks to the trip’s organisers it was wall-to-wall Arsenal. As for the people – I met fellow Gooners from all over the US (North Carolina, Colorado, Boston, Dallas, Baltimore, Atlanta, just to name a few), relatively new fans and lifelong fans, first-time Londoners and experienced visitors, fathers and sons (and daughter!), husbands and wives, all ages, shapes and sizes but all with one common thread – friendly Gooners for life who were thrilled to be in the home of our beloved Arsenal.

Friday, October 31 was arrival day for many, yet AA was kind enough to point out that there was an under-21 game at Borehamwood Stadium – home of a non-league team about a 20 minute train north of the city.

While the rest of the crew skipped it, I was feeling anxious to see my first football of the trip and I like an adventure, so I followed the great directions I was given and made it to the stadium just in time for the players to walk out.

The match was exciting as Arsenal conceded an equaliser in the 91st minute only to come back and score a 93rd-minute winner to make it 2-1 with the final kick of the game.

Daniel Crowley


After the match the boys walked right by us on their way back to the changing room and Chuba Akpom and Gedion Zelalem - who grew up in the DC area so I knew how to get his attention - stopped to take a picture, sign an autograph and chat for a bit about his experience so far. 

Saturday, November 1 was the Burnley match day! My fellow DC Gooner John and I took a walk past Highbury (where I spent much time as a teenager) and were lucky enough to get into the gated entrance as someone was walking out.

Here I had my first “chills” as I stood in what is now a courtyard surrounded by high-end condos, but was once the North Bank and North End of Highbury Stadium. I took some pictures and walked by the old ticketing area and East Stand, and I got truly pumped up for the upcoming match.

At this point we met Jeffrey Lancaster, who is as Arsenal as it gets, and a fantastic friend to us American supporters. Thank you Jeffrey for your hospitality, your ideas and organisation and for everything you do to help American Gooners who come to visit.

The Supporters Club Pub is a pub mixed with a museum of pictures and other memorabilia from Arsenal current and past. It was a great place to meet up and by 1.15pm we were ready to walk to the Emirates for the next special event coordinated by AA – meeting the Arsenal Team Bus (and unexpectedly, David Beckham and son) as they arrived at the stadium and greeting the players up close.

Arsenal America

Arsenal America


We all also got a good cuddle (and a picture inside the arrival hall in front of the Arsenal Crest) with a certain large green dinosaur. From there it was inside the stadium and just in time to watch Liverpool lose (ha!) and then to our seats. Again it was impressive that in a perpetually sold-out stadium, the 25 or so of us were all seated together in the same section within a few rows of each other.

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This first appeared on Arsenal America on November 11

Arsenal America

I won’t recap the game but needless to say it was a nervous first half and a festive second half, great to see a well-deserved 3-0 victory and see Alexis’ magic in person. After the game, the majority of us retreated to Gunners Pub where we celebrated pretty hard, met other Americans and integrated with some hard-core locals for an evening of chanting and celebrating. It gets hazy after that but it was a great day….

Monday, November 3 brought us back to North London for a group lunch at the Arsenal Fish Bar and then to the Emirates for a stadium tour led by the legend (and delicious pie himself) Charlie George.

Having been on an unguided tour of the Emirates before, I found the Charlie George version to be incredibly informative, fun, and Charlie has a great sense of humour, a lot of energy, and was incredibly kind and accessible.

We took pictures with the FA Cup and Community Shield, visited the home locker room, the pitch, player seating area, and media areas. Charlie signed the ArsenalAmerica banner and a great time was had by all. We then emptied into the Armoury gift shop which is a paradise full of Arsenal gear, and every other Arsenal-related paraphernalia that you can think of.

Arsenal America

Arsenal America


Tuesday, November 4 was the much anticipated Champions League game against Anderlecht. Once again we met up beforehand – at Tollington’s Pub and also at the Eaglet near the Emirates. The weather was frightful – cold and raining heavily – but that didn’t damp our spirits.

While the game itself (initially exhilarating, and then you all know what happened) took a bit of wind out of our sails, I think it would be hard to say it wasn’t a thrilling game with great atmosphere (the Anderlecht fans were in amazing form).

It was a simply amazing trip planned and executed to perfection and I am so thankful that I was able to go and happy to meet such great people. Thank you ArsenalAmerica for all that you have done for us members – you are a great, hardworking group of people who are very generous with your time and I look forward to road-tripping with you again as soon as possible!

Arsenal America

Arsenal America


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