“Everywhere you see a Gooner, flag them down and chances are it'll lead to a great friendship.”
MEET THE FANS: DETROIT
Group name: Arsenal Detroit
Location: Detroit, Michigan
Home Pub: McShane's Irish Pub
1460 Michigan Ave, Detroit
Facebook: Arsenal Detroit
That’s the advice from Michael Clements, a massive Arsenal fan who moved to the U.S. in 1996. But as many longtime Gooners on our shores can attest to, for years he found it extremely difficult to catch any matches on TV.
The short term solution was venturing out to the pubs with his step-father anytime they would show a big match.
“I made some great friends over the years who are also Gooners and every time we bumped into another Gooner we would try and make plans to watch a match together,” Clement said.
And that was beginning of Arsenal Detroit. A small, but tight group of friends drawn together by the love of Arsenal.
But when Clements started promoting the group through social media, he was floored.
“It was incredible how quickly people started showing up who we didn't know,” he recalled.
What was once a smattering of fans sitting in the corner of a pub, is now 40 to 50 Gooners filling the entire pub. And for the 2015 FA Cup final, more that 150 fans turned out.
“Generally, everyone knows each other, but when there are new faces (frequently) they are welcomed and embraced (sometimes literally!),” Clements said.
With all the solid base of support, the group was in need of a more permanent venue for the group to meet. They had one major requirement.
“We wanted a pub in the city,” Clements said. “We are Arsenal Detroit after all.”
The pub they found couldn’t be more Detroit. It’s located just across the street from perhaps the most revered place in Detroit sports history: the famed Corner of Michigan and Trumball.
“McShane's stands next to the old site of Tiger Stadium,” Clements noted. “It’s a Detroit original.”
And to make it even better…
“The outside is painted Arsenal red (coincidence, yet still fantastic) and the staff are more than welcoming. Every single match we get a couple of new faces, and it's the groups' welcoming nature that keeps the new faces coming back every week.”
While Detroit has been infamous for its economic struggles, vibrant communities of people from many backgrounds thrive within its borders. And Detroiters love their sports.
“It's the most culturally diverse group I've ever been a part of,” Clements said. “And that's what makes it so interesting.”
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