If you are in the Cleveland area be sure to meet up with one of the local branches of Arsenal America!
MEET THE FANS: CLEVELAND
Although there were a number of Arsenal fans scattered around the southern shore of Lake Erie, as recently as 2012, they were all watching games on their own.
But through the magic of Twitter, a couple of them were able to link up and organize.
“There is a growing football community of Premier League supporters in Cleveland and as more people go to social media, attendance at match-watching events is growing,” said Sean Medina, one of the founders of the Cleveland Gooners.
The Cleveland Gooners gather at Merry Arts in Lakewood, just to the West of Cleveland proper. The pub welcomes fans of all clubs, but around two dozen Arsenal supporters can fill it up on a big match day.
“We've got groups meeting in pubs all over the county watching Premier League football on the weekends,” Chris Morris said. “Throughout the 2012-2013 season, we were drawing in more Arsenal fans almost weekly, by the end of the season our number had almost doubled.”
Part of that could be down to the congenial nature of the fans in Cleveland. “My most memorable moment was the first match I attended,” recalled Jason Haremza, who relocated to Cleveland from Portland. He cited “the welcoming atmosphere and genuine appreciation for a new member to join the group.”
“It’s a good group of guys (and occasionally gals too) gathered to have a good time and share in the joys and despair of being an Arsenal supporter,” Haremza added. “I would say it is an overriding positive group pulling for the team.”
And this devoted group continues to have their eyes open for new converts. “I love it when I get that look of excitement or interested curiosity,” Devin Cathcart said. “That's when you know you've got a chance to hook another one!”
And with 2 million people in Greater Cleveland, there are still plenty more fans to hook.
“Arsenal is bigger in Cleveland than we first thought,” Medina said. “The tagline we always hear is ‘Everyone in Cleveland is an Arsenal fan,’ although we have yet to get everyone in Cleveland to watch a match.”
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