12 August 2013

Why We're Here

Five days from today, it starts again.

The early-morning weekend alarm clocks, the incessant refreshing of social networks on Tuesday and Wednesday afternoons, the anticipation of events taking place an ocean away.

The Boston Gooners during a match last March.
Being a soccer fan in the United States isn't particularly difficult. Being an English soccer supporter, however, requires a bit of sacrifice. It isn't enough just to watch the matches or keep up with results. No, being an English soccer fan in the U.S. is a constant battle to prove you belong.

Unlike our other preferences within sports, for most of us, the Boston Gooners, our decision to support Arsenal was just that. We had a choice, sought out some options and decided on the red-and-white-clad club from North London. We are, for the most part, Arsenal supporters because we wanted to be, not because our mothers or fathers bestowed their own silly obsessions on us. This one is all our own.

There are, altogether, about 200 active members of Boston Gooners, the only Arsenal supporter group in the city of Boston. As it happens with this particular town, we often come to represent the entire New England region. We're happy to do it of course, but it makes this group, and now this blog, even more significant for us.

We wanted this. We could all choose to stay at home on those early, frequently freezing Saturday or Sunday mornings. We could all choose to actually do work or attend class between 2:30 p.m. and 5 p.m. on Tuesdays or Wednesdays. We, whether we realize or not, though, have something to prove. Among sports fans in Boston, a city with a more intense sporting fixation than most in the U.S., we're the bottom rung. And that's the reason we're here.

There's something special about this particular sporting affinity. Like most social groups in this city, our membership isn't just lifelong Bostonians or native Massachusetts residents. The colleges and the various industries that give this city its pulse do the same for Boston Gooners. Arsenal is the reason we came in the first place, but it's not the reason we stayed. Filling our home, Lir on Boylston, every week, and making the tourists and residents hoofing up and down Boylston Street know who we are motivates us not just to watch our Arsenal, but to make it known that it's our territory when the Gunners are on the march. And any and all are welcome to join us.
The Boston Gooners during a match last September.

For the most part, this blog and its content will be about Arsenal. Match previews and analysis of games, issues and trends will be there, of course, but there will be a place for us to talk about ourselves -- who we are as individuals, an organization and residents of this amazing city. The English Premier League is as popular, globally, as it's ever been. The presence of matches across NBC's different television properties this season will, we hope, bring out more new fans of Arsenal and the league as whole.

If, at any point, a lovely run from Theo Walcott, a lofting shot from Santi Cazorla or tidy finish from Lukas Podolski provides the singular moment that makes Arsenal your club, you know where to find us.

Five days from now, it all starts again. A 10 a.m. kickoff against Aston Villa is the first in a long line of matches that will either bring triumph or agony for Arsenal and its supporters around the world. That's not why we're here, though. Despite the run of results, wins or losses -- or draws -- Boston Gooners will be at Lir for the match.

We'd love for you to join us.

Come on You Gunners!


  1. Anybody know which matches these pictures are from? Looks like we're sort of resigned in the first one and frustrated but hopeful in the second. I guess that does cover a lot of the emotional gamut for Arsenal fans.

    1. The first one is from the second North London Derby. Second is from first City match.